One of the main issues tabled before the committee of student representatives of the Magdalene College at its recent meeting was whether or not the portrait of the British monarch should remain on display in the common area. This came up as part of efforts to make the common room more welcoming. 10 students voted to have the image removed with two going against the motion.
Excerpts from that students’ meeting stated that:
For some students, depictions of the monarch and the British monarchy represent recent colonial history.
Student level decision
President of Magdalen College, Barrister Dinah Rose clarified that the decision of the students does not represent that of the college or the university for that matter. However, she expressed her support for the right of everyone including these students to exercise ‘free speech’ and to engage in ‘political debate.’
She took to twitter to throw more light on this issue:
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.
According to her, the photo will be stored away in a safe place.
Can the Queen be cancelled?
As expected, this issue has stirred up quite a bit of controversy with the education secretary, Gavin Williamson describing the move as ‘simply absurd.’
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 & respect around the world.
In her tweets, Barrister Rose implied that some agitated members of the public were issuing 'obscene and threatening messages to college staff.'
She wants these people to stop and think if the Queen would appreciate their reaction to dissenting views and the traditions of free debate.