Sunday, 20 September 2009

New Gown website published

The Gown has launched a brand new website for you to use.

This website,, will be your new portal to regular student news and gossip, as well as all the latest from the Belfast entertainment scene, engaging features, and QUB sport analysis.

Therefore, this will be the last post on our beloved blog. Ah what a time it's been, full of scandal, bitchin' and frequent libellous claims- we've enjoyed it all...

...but don't cry into your keyboard too much, as the new site is ready, and eager for your input!

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Professor Peter Gregson - the latest in expenses scandal

It has emerged that Queen’s University has been paying for its Vice Chancellor, Professor Peter Gregson, to have membership with an exclusive members-only Gentleman’s club in London.

Yet another example of being caught out abusing expenses, The Irish News’ Freedom of Information request revealed that Gregson claimed the £920 membership fee back on his expenses. This membership entitles Gregson to, among other things, frequent dinners and wine tasting events at the Athenaeum.

According to the Athenaeum's website, it was founded as a "meeting place for men who enjoy the life of the mind". Women have only been eligible to become members since January 2002.

A university spokeswoman said, “Membership of the Athenaeum provides a London base for Queen's and access to low cost accommodation when available.”

However, the Freedom of Information request revealed that Gregson stayed at the five-star Mayfair hotel on 23rd October last year, claiming back £294.55 for just one night. The information provided to the The Irish News shows that Gregson stayed in a hotel on at least two out of five visits to the city of London.

Anna Lo, South Belfast Alliance MLA, has questioned how such a payout for membership of a club and accommodation in the ritziest part of London can be justified in such tough times. She said, "On one hand there is speculation of job cuts at Queen's and increases in tuition fees yet they can afford to pay for something like this. Queen's may try and justify this, but people will still be very surprised and annoyed at this payment."

This has all come to light on the back of the revelation that Gregson enjoyed a £20k increase in his wages, an increase which is more than what many people make in a year. It was revealed in June that his salary now exceeds £200,000.

The Gown would also like to point out once again (see a previous editorial by Catherine Wylie) that Gregson ignored pleas for financial help when the paper was facing closure last academic year.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Sub-Editor Positons Available! Writers Required!‏

The Gown is currently undergoing many exciting changes in preparation for a new academic year at Queen’s. We therefore require six students to take on Sub-Editor roles to help with developing and managing the publication.

The voluntary Sub-Editor positions available are:

- Arts and Entertainment Editor

- Features Editor

- Sport Editor

- Photography Editor

- Design Editor

- Web Editor

Also, as w
e intend to have an issue out for freshers' week, we need to know who's interested in writing articles.

At any level of involvement, The Gown is a great opportunity to gain some valuable experience in journalism, media and business.

If you would like to volunteer for a sub-editor position, or you wish to write for the next issue, email us at for more information.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Queen's Radio Hosts Media Workshop Weekend

Queen's Radio will be running 4 media workshops on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th July in the Student's Union at Queen's.

The weekend of workshops will aim to teach participants skills in radio programme production, broadcast journalism, and new media sources such as blogs and podcasts.

The workshops will take place in The Space, in the Student's Union. Lunches will be provided and it is free to take part.

Queen's Radio described the different workshops that will take place:

Build a Blog
"It's a bit like build a bear except one of Ireland's leading bloggers will hold a practical on how to blog - both the technical side and the content will be covered. Other social aspects like twitter and facebook will be discussed - how to use them to maximise your reader base."

Build a Pod
"Davy Simms, formerly of the BBC Radio Ulster will hold a practical on how to build and podcast. Everything from content to the technical aspects like recording it and getting it on to the itunes marketplace."

News Reading 101
"Kathy Clugston of BBC Radio Four will show students how to find 'the voice' presentation, mic technique etc... as well a bit about how NOT to write for radio, and why.... A leading journalist will also accompany Kathy to talk about writing news and the Do's and Don't's of journalism. "

The Best Show in The God-Damn World

"A leading Northern Irish radio producer will show students how to plan the ultimate show. Forward planning, choosing the right guests, getting the killer links, jingles and witty banter will all be included plus more."

Queen's Radio highlighted that "networking sessions" would be ongoing for the two day event, and that there would be "plenty of opportunites" to put questions to the invited media professionals.

"This is not to be missed for any up and coming media star!"

To book your place, email

Thursday, 4 June 2009

GOWN EXCLUSIVE - Union in controversy after survey leads to job losses

The Gown has uncovered evidence of serious administrative dysfunction at the heart of the QUB student union, with a haphazard survey leading to the loss of full-time jobs in a recent restructuring effort.

A recent 'have your say' survey, conducted by the union, with the blessing of the university, (QUBSU is unique in the UK and Ireland in being subordinate to, not independent of, its university) was designed to overhaul the composition of the union, supposedly bringing it into line with the views of ordinary students. The Gown understands that a low uptake of the survey, and thus an unrepresentative survey to act on, prompted the subsequent actions of certain union sabbatical officers.

A number of sources have confirmed that drinks vouchers, worth £1.80, were exchanged for participation in the survey in and about the Union bars on a Thursday night. These vouchers were handed out by, amongst others, incoming union president Shane Brogan, currently VP for Equality & Diversity.

Sources have also confirmed that students present completed the questionnaire under the influence of alcohol, having consumed prior to going out. It is thus suggested that the findings of the survey are compromised through incapacitation or patent disinterest.

Student responses to the survey later precipitated a restructuring effort at the union, with five full-time members of staff losing their jobs, in the midst of torrid recession. Sources speaking to The Gown have questioned the validity of the findings of the survey, and in turn the fairness of the subsequent decision to make certain staff members redundant.

The Gown
team intend to fully investigate this story - more will follow in the coming days.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Final edition of the year out now

The May edition of The Gown is available at all the usual places around the campus. Enjoy!

Friday, 27 March 2009

Student Protest Blames Police for St.Patrick's Day Disturbances

-Brendan Hughes

Students yesterday protested to highlight their belief that the PSNI was a major cause of the Holylands disturbances on St.Patrick's Day.

At 5.00pm yesterday (Thursday) evening, approximately twelve students lined the main gates to Queen's University. A small gathering of students observed the protest. Three police officers also appeared to oversee events.

The demonstration, organised by the Socialist Worker Student Society, blamed both the police and the University for what happened on St.Patrick's Day.

Daniel O'Boyle, a member of the society, said, "The violence that happened on the day was the result of police heavy-handedness and brutality." He also identified the "core" of the problem as being the failure of Queen's to provide suitable accommodation for its students.

Last week on St.Patrick's Day, up to 400 young people, students and non-students, were involved in an incident centred on Carmel Street in the Holylands. One car was burnt out, while bricks and bottles were thrown at police on the scene. Nineteen people were arrested, and five have been charged in connection with the disturbances.

A female protester, who wished not to be named, believed that how the police treated students on the day was unfair.
"Girls were hit- I have bruises on my arm from them pushing me down the str

Another protester asserted his reasons for participating in the demonstration.
"I want to change the media perception on it- that the police were right. The same scenes happen when there's band parades, especially on 12th July, and there's no riot police out."

Students who observed the demonstration expressed mixed opinions: Student Mark Dunn said, "From this pitiful showing of students from the Holylands...they are merely adding to the reputation that they have put on the university and its students."

Another bystander in support of the protest believed that students are not completely to blame for the problems in the Holylands.
"A lot of the onus is put on students, when a lot of the time residents also provoke the situation", she said, citing her own personal problems with residents in the area.


In a bizarre twist to proceedings, three unusual protesters appeared on the scene; current Students' Union Sabbatical Officers James Murphy and Fergus McAleavey, and newly-
elected VP Equality and Diversity Paul Lilly. The trio began to protest on issues of their own: While Murphy held a placard saying "The world is flat", McAleavey campaigned on behalf of "Gary Breen" being "number 1", leaving Lilly to shout at the top of his lungs, "Would anyone like a cup of tae!?"

Speaking to The Gown, Lilly outlined his reasons for protest.

"One of my key areas in equality and diversity is that there's not enough tea bein' drinkin'. Now, the word I use for it is 'tae'..."

On a more serious note, Lilly, who himself lives in the Holylands, said, "I think (the protest) is going a bit far now. I don't think that the light they are portraying the police in is a correct one."

Daniel O'Boyle desribed the Sabb's actions as a "attempt to trivialise the protest".

"(The Sabbatical Officers') responsibility is to offer and provide leadership and to represent the interests of students, and (here) they don't seem to be doing that at all."

Students' Union President Ciarnan Helferty has, through this blog, invited the Socialist Worker Student Society to take part in a public debate on the issues surrounding St.Patrick's Day.