Thursday, 26 February 2009

QUB: No Irish Need Apply

A shocking discovery made by The Gown in recent weeks has unearthed racial inequality on the part of QUB. The Management School, one of the university’s leading bodies, took the seemingly innocuous decision to advertise a bursary for their postgraduate programmes. However, said bursaries were for GB students only, that is, students from England, Scotland and Wales. Thus excluding students from Northern Ireland, The Republic of Ireland and Europe.
The Gown can confirm that QUB have since retraced their steps, and have made applications for the bursary open to all students. Meanwhile, the controversial GB clause has been amended on new advertisements detailing the bursary, and QUB have done their utmost to remove old fliers from the campus.
However, when The Gown spoke to a Management School representative on 4th February, the original rules of eligibility were still in place. To quote the initial conditions: “Queen’s University Management School is offering 5 MSc Scholarships for Great Britain students enrolling on any full-time postgraduate taught programme within the School for September 2009 entry.” The flier then goes on to say, “All Great Britain applicants who apply for the full-time MSc programmes will automatically be considered.”
The Gown spoke to the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland which, after a long discussion, concluded that it did not have sufficient details on the case to comment. Undeterred, The Gown spoke to a leading representative from the School of Law on the legality of the matter. Given the fact that there exists no legitimate aim or reason for stipulating that GB students need only apply, the Management School have left themselves susceptible to claims of discrimination.
Now that the fliers and advertisements have been amended and extended to all home and EU students, eligibility is solely based on academic performance. This does indeed sit more comfortably with QUB’s self portrait as a Russell Group institution. No other school within the university has ever incurred such controversy in relation to rules of eligibility, as all schools rely predominantly on academic performance.
When The Gown quizzed senior employees from the Management School, they were extremely hesitant to speak on the matter. The first person we spoke to simply stated, “I don’t know”. The Marketing and External Relations officer of the school remained extremely evasive on the matter. When pursued for comment, said representative dismissed The Gown’s rights of enquiry. At this conjecture then, The Gown wishes to reiterate that it stands independent from the University, and is simply continuing the newspaper’s responsibility to hold the institution to account.
When asked whether or not the old fliers had been successfully retrieved from universities in GB, The School’s representative said: “I cannot answer that.” When further pressed for an answer to that question, and why indeed such a rule was implicated in the first place, the lady in question told The Gown, “I am not having this conversation with you. The important

thing for you to know is that all students are now eligible.”
The Management School, it seems, does not know whether the old fliers, which include the discriminatory rules, are actually completely out of circulation. They also refused to inform The Gown why these rules were implemented in the first place.
We spoke to a student from Co. Tyrone who was outraged at the prospect of being discriminated against. “I cannot believe that the university would have the audacity to tell me I am not eligible for a bursary when I have performed very well academically. I should have as much chance as anyone else to receive a bursary for a postgraduate course which offers financial help.”
The Gown suspects that this oversight may have been part of

a bid to enhance the university’s status on the Mainland. After all, it has been suggested that QUB were welcomed into the Russell Group for nothing more than geographical balance.
Shane Brogan, VP Equality and Diversity told The Gown, “I was stunned when I heard about the actions of the Management School. It is absolutely disgraceful that they intended to discriminate against students in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. It seems unbelievable that they thought that this was within the law.”
Indeed, it remains to be seen how QUB intend to remain an institution of esteem; and how, or if, its individual schools will ever ‘manage’ to live up to such a portrayal.


A said...

Is there any basis in fact in this story? I can't find any. What are your sources?

Malicious and scurrilous stuff it would seem- you should hang your heads in shame.

Interested said...

Who can management school students email to register their complaints? And have the Accounting Society et al been contacted?

Gown Team said...

The Gown team is both confused and surprised at the comment made by 'A'.

Any "basis in fact"?

We think you will find that every single point we make is factual.

What are our sources?

Our sources include the following - the old flier citing the discriminatory rules of eligibility, the new flier with the amended rules, the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, a leading professor in the School of Law, numerous employees in the Management School, a number of students from both north and south of the border,VP Equality and Diversity Shane Brogan, and a number of sources who wish to remain anonymous.

"Malicious" and "scurrilous"?

Sounds like you're having a bit of a laugh 'A'.

We have uncovered a wrongdoing within one of the "top" schools in the university. And due to that, we are pretty pleased with our work.

We appreciate all comments nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

Guys, sources need to be revealed. I think its a great story don't get me wrong, and I believe it. But at least one or two of the sources should have been named in order to give it more standing.

As well as that....the mainland?!?!?!

Can't believe no-one's picked up on it that I have, let the sparks fly!

Gown Team said...

The Gown team is confident that enough sources have been revealed in regard to giving the story credibility.

Anonymous said...

If you search enough you can still find the old fliers online at,135175,en.pdf

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the School was targeting applications from GB and elsewhere? Hardly discrimination. I would have thought that NI students could apply for other awards not offered to GB students. Don't forget that there are plenty of PG programmes that don't offer any awards at all, so can we say that Geography Students are discriminated against because of their subject?

Also hate to point out but not everyone from N.Ireland is irish. So infact your article headline is discriminatory as it affects everyone from N.Ireland ;-)

Gown Team said...

To the last anonymous comment contributor,

The Gown stands by the story and believes that serious discrimination took place within the Management School.

Why have they changed their rules of eligibility?

Maybe it's because they are extremely embarrassed by the whole debacle. It certainly seemed this way when The Gown questioned them. We can confirm that they were extremely hostile, unhelpful and not pleased to hear from us at all.

So, yes, there was definite discrimination in their old rules of eligibility.

Re: The Headline
Too petty for us to muster a response.

Anonymous said...

Does this mean then that it discriminetes against French or Swedes as it does not include other parts of the EU?

Anonymous said...

Maybe the person doing the advert flier on the studentships did not realise that Northern Ireland is not, and has never been, in GB! there is pleny of confusion on this basic point in NI.