Belfast Telegraph

'Unwelcoming', 'trivial'... students give their reaction to controversial 'Brits Out' poster

Jamie Wharry
Jamie Wharry
Students David McCaughey and Matthew Christie
Thomas Griffin
Lucinda Thompson
Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

Queen's students were divided yesterday on the controversial 'Brits Out' slogan.

For some, it was unwelcoming, others, though, said the controversy was trivial.

Speaking with some of her fellow computer science students, Lucinda Thompson (18), from Leeds, said she didn't think the poster was called for.

"I'm from England and don't know very much about these affairs," she said. "I do find it a little unwelcoming to be honest because I don't think people like myself are really doing any harm.

"We come here to study and maybe to live, I think we should have freedom to walk around without having any hostility."

Another student, from London, who asked not to be named, said: "If it's just something they put on a piece of paper, then it's not that big of a deal. It depends on how seriously they take it.

"I wouldn't be happy if people started shouting Brits out at me, but people are entitled to their opinions and will say what they want."

Thomas Griffin (19), from Moira, said: "I'm not really someone who involves myself much in politics, but it doesn't seem friendly. It seems like propaganda to get votes, but why that would appeal to people, I don't know."

Jamie Wharry (18), from Carrickfergus, added: "This is a very welcoming university, it welcomes international students from everywhere and within the UK. I don't think we should say something like that about any students really."

Electrical engineering students David McCaughey (18), from Randalstown, and Matthew Christie (18), from Newtownabbey, said the reaction was overblown.

"It's a bit trivial, it happens all the time," said Matthew.

"Those parties constantly go on and on at each other. I don't really think it's something to take offence over, it's just free speech isn't it.

"Whether I disagree with it or not doesn't really matter, as long as they're not going around looking for a fight.

"If you don't want to be offended by them then don't walk up to them. I mean, it's Sinn Fein and their main thing is a united Ireland."

David added: "I'm not that much of a political person, but I really just think it's childish going head to head over it."

Music and sound design student Stacey McMeekin (25) grew up in West Sussex before moving to Northern Ireland.

She said: "If you're coming over for your first year from England and saw something like that, it would be very discouraging.

"As well for the British tutors that we have. I just think it's really unnecessary and don't think it should have been allowed in a university that's trying to promote equal rights, anti-racism and all the rest of it."

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