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If a Queen’s law lecturer cannot see fit to condemn murder then his position at university is untenable

While I would never consider myself comparable to the political calibre of Edgar Graham, we were both Queen's University undergraduates, both Young Ulster Unionists and studying for a PhD. The Queen's I went to, however, was a far cry from the institution in which Edgar lectured.

Thirty-three years ago, a large number of students in the QUB Students' Union cheered the news of his death. The Queen's I studied at, with only a few notable exceptions, was a diverse place, where people from all backgrounds, both from Northern Ireland and further afield, worked together to improve their knowledge and skills and enjoyed themselves while doing so.

How can this positive change continue if lecturers - people whom students are supposed to look up to - can't condemn cold-blooded murder?

When I was presented with an award in memory of Edgar in 2011, I visited the memorial in Stormont to the South Belfast MLA. The inscription on it said: 'Keep alive the light of justice.'

The failure of a law lecturer to condemn his murder - bearing in mind that he is somebody who is supposed to understand the importance of the rule of law - should be of particular concern to the university at large.

Lecturers occupy a position of privilege, but also responsibility. They get the chance to shape the minds and values of students, but they must be careful to be an exemplar of everything that their discipline represents.

I believe if Peter Doran does not alter his comments, he no longer is fit to be the role-model a law lecturer should be.

CLLR CHRIS SMYTH (UUP)

Fermanagh & Omagh District Council

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