Oxford students vote to have portrait of Queen removed from campus over ‘colonial history’

Oxford students vote to have portrait of Queen removed from campus over ‘colonial history’

A GROUP of Oxford University students has opted to remove a portrait of the Queen from their campus over concerns she “represents recent colonial history”

Graduate members of the Middle Common Room committee at Magdalen College voted overwhelmingly to have the painting removed.

The students have resolved to replace the portrait with a piece of “art by or of other influential and inspirational people”.

According to a report by Guido Fawkes, one student explained the move was not about wanting to “cancel” the Queen but rather creating a communal space where “people feel welcome.”

Others were less forgiving however, with another unnamed student arguing that “patriotism and colonialism are not really separable”.

The decision has drawn the ire of UK Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, who branded the decision as “absurd.”

He said: “She is the Head of State and a symbol of what is best about the UK.

“During her long reign she has worked tirelessly to promote British values of tolerance, inclusivity and respect around the world.”

Magdalen College president and barrister Dinah Rose supporter the right to “free speech and political debate” while distancing the institution from those involved.

She tweeted: “Here are some facts about Magdalen College and HM the Queen.

“The Middle Common Room is an organisation of graduate students. They don’t represent the College.

“A few years ago, in about 2013, they bought a print of a photo of the Queen to decorate their common room.

“They recently voted to take it down. Both of these decisions are their own to take, not the College’s.

“Magdalen strongly supports free speech and political debate, and the MCR’S right to autonomy.

“Maybe they’ll vote to put it up again, maybe they won’t. Meanwhile, the photo will be safely stored."

She concluded: “Being a student is about more than studying. It’s about exploring and debating ideas. It’s sometimes about provoking the older generation.

“Looks like that isn’t so hard to do these days.”

It follows on from several protests witnessed over the past year calling for statues dedicated to figures with ties to the slave trade to be taken down.

In Ireland some have demanded the statue of Oliver Cromwell that sits outside the Houses of Parliament in London be taken down.