Belfast Telegraph

Queen's Univeristy seen as 'cold house' by some unionists, claims Allister

Jim Allister
Jim Allister
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

TUV leader Jim Allister has warned there is a perception within the unionist community that Queen's University Belfast is a "cold house" for them.​

Mr Allister was speaking following a meeting with the university's Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Greer to discuss the issue and how it can be addressed.

The North Antrim MLA said he made it clear to Professor Greer that while he respects academic freedom, he believes it was unwise to not have stricter guidelines around the use of the Queen's logo.

"This was a particular issue raised with me by a number of members of the public following the publication of a report on Irish unity which prominently carried the logo of QUB," he said.

"While I accept that the work was carried out as consultancy, the use of the logo prominently on the cover led people to draw the reasonable conclusion that it carried the imprimatur of the university."

Mr Allister added: "While the university is rightly keen to promote academic freedom I did highlight the fact that academics were silent when there was an attempt, through an online petition, to silence the voice of the pro-life society at Queen's and that some academics had actually signed the petition.

"I also conveyed to the Vice-Chancellor a number of concerns which have been raised with me about the feeling of alienation some students feel within a union which they see an increasingly hostile to their beliefs and culture.

"I was pleased that the university was able to provide me with examples of what it is doing which should go some way to allaying unionist concerns, such as the relationship which Queen's is building with schools in the loyalist community of south Belfast, as well as engagement with unionist students," he said.

Queen's was approached for comment but had not responded at the time of going to press.

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