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TheGown. The Independent Student Newspaper at Queen’s University Belfast, Established 1955

ART OF THE TROUBLES: REVIEWED

THE FACTS OF EXAM SEASON

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Tuesday 13th May 2014

GIRO D’ITALIA COMES TO QUEEN’S

Motion to Ban SU Sale of Poppies Falls Kylie Noble News Editor @Kylie_Noble94

A controversial motion tabled by Séan Fearon and Kellyann McAteer, which proposed a ban on the sale of British Legion poppies in the Students’ Union shop, fell at the final meeting of student council this academic year. The motion had attracted intense media coverage. Its proposers claimed to have received death threats and abuse via social networking site Twitter in the run up to the debate. Following a vote by council on the admittance of non-student members to the meeting of May 7th, the Union refused entry to any non-student reporter - with The Gown live-tweeting the entire event. The motion was worded as follows: “Council notes that the Poppy Appeal is a politically charged and unnecessarily divisive initiative given the nature of local politics. This Council recognizes that the Student's Union is an inclusive and neutral space for all students at Queen's University and therefore must offer a politically neutral environment regarding issues of the past to avoid offence and a sense of exclusion. This Council, therefore, instructs the VP Equality & Diversity and the Union President to end the sale of poppies in the Student's Union to provide an end to political sponsorship of the Poppy Appeal, in the name of peace, inclusivity and progressivism". The ensuing debate encompassed passionate speeches for and against

the motion. Séan Fearon, Chair of Queen’s Sinn Féin Youth and proposer of the motion, stated that the motion had become a “farce” in part due to external media outlets, “Whipping up fury with mistruths and a distorted representation of the motion”. Mr Fearon went on to say, “We are mature enough to nurture debate while expelling the hatemongering aimed at myself and others. In this hall, we allow for disagreement, we welcome debate, and we all accept the democratic decision of our peers”. He continued, “The poppy for some represents a sense of remembrance and respect. Yet it has become the symbol of the few, not for all. For many it represents centuries of war, chauvinistic patriotism, and the British Army - and this is simply incompatible with the inclusive environment the Union must provide for its students. He argued the shop’s display of “Poppy Appeal” donation boxes constituted, “A promotion of the ideals we should all seek to protect our Union from: a bias to one side of our divided community, war, and imperialism”. A fellow councillor, speaking against the motion, described it as “an absolute disgrace” and “hypocrisy”. She noted, “We are not talking about other political symbols or GAA Tshirts”. The councillor asserted that “People from both sides of the religious divide are offended by this motion... they say ‘many’ are against this-do

British Legion Poppies. Photo from the Department for Communities and Local Government. they have statistics to prove what many means? We are taking on our past generation’s arguments”. A speaker in favour of the motion felt the proposal was “not intended to be orange and green”. He spoke of his family’s personal links to the British Army, with his grandfather having fought. Another councillor vocalised his strong support for the poppy: “I’m an Irish nationalist and always have been, and I wear a poppy. Many Irish men died fighting in wars…I condemn the atrocities the British army carried out but support those who fought”. The vote was carried out by secret ballot. The outcome was 15 votes

in favour, 40 against and 1 spoiled ballot. Three Loyalist protestors gathered outside Queen’s in a display of concern over the motion.

welfare of widows, widowers and families who suffer as a result of the loss or injury of a loved one on active service”.

Ulster Unionist Belfast City Council candidate for Botanic - and former Queen’s student - Graham Craig welcomed the decision at which the council arrived: “I welcome this vote in favour of freedom, inclusivity and tolerance as it recognises the sacrifice paid by those who fought for the freedom of all. I congratulate those in attendance to oppose this wicked, sectarian and backward motion put forward. He added, “The poppy is a symbol of sacrifice, but also of suffering. The Royal British Legion administer and promote the poppy campaign and the sale of poppies goes towards assisting in the

In a press release issued prior to the debate, its proposers had questioned the lack of focus on other issues council was discussing, stating that, “A cursory glance at tonight’s agenda, freely available online, would show that issues of democracy at our Union, pregnancy advice to students, and holding a referendum on membership views on abortion, are also to be debated. Yet a perceived issue of orange and green is latched upon by electioneers wishing to make themselves relevant. They have nothing to say on other issues which impact students on a daily basis, neither do they care”.

UCU Summer Marking Boycott Called Off The Gown Staff Members @thegownqub

The University and College Union has called off its threat of a marking boycott, following a vote by members in favour of accepting a 2% pay rise from employers. Over 80% of those who voted wished to settle on the new deal, having undertaken earlier industrial action at the prospect of a 1% pay rise. More than 50% of the union’s total membership turned out for the vote. General

Secretary of the body, Sally Hunt, stated, “UCU members have made it overwhelmingly clear that they wish to accept the 2% pay offer and call off the proposed marking boycott”.

Were the boycott to have proceeded, staff affiliated with the union were expected to refuse to mark exam scripts and coursework – it was worried that graduations may have been delayed.

The boycott had initially been scheduled to begin on April 28th and was later postponed to the date of May 6th. The action was originally suggested as the “last resort” in UCU’s campaign towards “Fair Pay in Higher Education”, which had – earlier in the academic year – included strikes by the union’s members.

Speaking to The Gown, Professor Mike Larkin, Chairperson of the UCU at Queen’s, stated, "Although the majority of UCU members voted to accept the 2% pay offer, our members at Queen's are very disappointed with the outcome”. With thanks to Liam Cassidy for his research on this article.


T U E S D A Y 1 3 T H M A Y 2 0 1 4

The Gown

02 The Gown Editorial The Gown is the independent student newspaper at Queen’s University Belfast, established 1955.

Tara McEvoy Editor @tara_mcevoy

It’s staggering to think it’s been a year since I first took over editorship of The Gown, and in that year I’ve been heartened and inspired by the response to the paper’s eight issues.

in crisis, being involved with The Gown, a Queen’s institution, has fostered within me an appreciation of the importance of the medium. It’s been a privilege to work for the publication – one, I hope, that has managed to stay relevant to the student experience despite being established nearly sixty years ago.

At a time when we’re told (alarmingly frequently) that the traditional newspaper industry is

I want to extend a massive thanks to all the people involved in the making of the paper this year. To

The Gown Team 2013/ 2014 Editor Tara McEvoy editor@thegown.net General Manager Megan Liddy business@thegown.net News Editors Kylie Noble Fiachra O’ Maolcraoibhe news@thegown.net Assistant - James Douglas Arts Editor Peter McGoran arts@thegown.net Assistant - Conor Kerr Correspondents Film- Patrick McAnea Music - Hayley Gault Theatre - Colm Doran TV - Adam McAllister

Sports Editor Michael Doran sports@thegown.net Assistant - Conor Coyle Opinion Editor Brian Martin info@thegown.net Photography Editor Darragh Hobbs Assistant - Desmond Eastwood Business Manager Orry Robinson business@thegown.net Web Manager Anna Growcott Social Media Manager David Stewart Design Editor Matthew Morete Contributors In Print and Online Liam Cassidy Claire Murray Niall Robb Katy Waller Aaron Rainey Tommy Greene James Smith Chantelle Frampton Ella Wintour Anna Cafolla Viorel Vlad Lisa Kelly Niall Coleman Laura Shields Freddie Clarke Amy Slack Katie English Kaity Hall Jane Doe Gaibhin McGranaghan Vanessa Taaffe

@TheGownQUB /TheGownQUB letters@thegown.net The Gown Queen’s University Belfast Students’ Union University Road Belfast BT71NF 028 9097 1057

Thanks to all our readers in 2013/14 - keep your eye’s peeled for the first edition of 2014/15 in September and in the meantime check out thegown. net for all your Queen’s news.

The Hood The Hood The Hood is The Gown’s anonymous whistleblower cum satirist. Founded in 1976 by a generous donation from the Sir Humphrey Hood Foundation, the Hood has consistently broken news of wrongdoing in the elected officials of the Students’ Union, as well as the wider student movement and the university itself. Loved by people who care too much about SU politics and despised by officers who should care more, the Hood delivers the news and the schmooze on those who waste your union dues. @upthehood

Features Editor Matthew Law features@thegown.net Assistant - Níamh Marley Lifestyle Editor Sonia Benhassine lifestyle@thegown.net Health Correspondent Michael Grant

the Gown Trust for their continued advice and support, to a truly brilliant editorial team and bunch of contributors. And to you, the reader: thanks for taking time out to pick up The Gown and give it a read. I hope you’ll continue to do so in 2014/15; on which note, I’d like to offer my best wishes to our new editor (see page four). Have a great summer, and keep a look out for our next issue this September.

Once again, we arrive at the last Hood article of the year. Since this coincides roughly with the last council meeting of the year, this means that many of our beloved sabbs (especially those who are leaving) will essentially slide into clockwatching until June (judging from the officers’ reports, for many of them, this will not be a particularly long slide). Spring brings with it the annual NUS-USI conference, a chance for unelected representatives and officers to further their ambitions to be career bureaucrats and have a chance to pat each other’s backs, rather than actually attending the meetings. It seems that our electoral habits have corrupted the wider community, with only the presidency contested, and all other candidates elected unopposed. Same story, different actors. NUS-USI is very similar to the May Ball: both

Letters

are poorly attended, expensive and not many people would notice or care if they went away. Our own delegates put forward a motion that the NUS-USI President should be elected by direct mandate, but it only managed to garner three votes. The worthiness of the cause (and whether it would make leadership of the group any less dynastic) is debateable, but perhaps the proponent should have realised that those lucky enough to be put up in a swanky hotel would be unwilling to surrender a microscopic degree of agency to any old student. Speaking of semi-pointless groups, our beloved councillors decided that students didn’t really need to be asked about reproductive rights earlier this week, because they had already made a decision. Normally this would be the most controver-

sial thing to happen at a council meeting, but for those of you out of the loop, this meeting also included a discussion on the poppy and whether it should be sold in our Union. Reports made it sound as though all of Queen’s was ready to rise up and desecrate the cenotaphs. Motions were rushed by to ban all non-students from the room during deliberations, and all waited eagerly to see who would throw the first chair. To their embarrassment (and my disgust) the debate was short and boring (or “polite”, in spite of various party mouthpieces trying to score points). The only spate of bad feeling came when certain sabbatical officers felt that questions asked of them were perhaps too close to the bone and ejected toys A through C from pram unit K. The upshot is that the red poppies will now be staying. Perhaps the Poppy Appeal could have done with the press of

being banned to boost sales. After all, being banned never did The Gown any harm. Beyond that, the council voted down several election reforms, with only the most toothless amendments limping through. One was proposed which would allow students who had not sat exams due to bereavement or illness to stand as sabbatical candidates; however the pleas of the bereaved and sickly fell on hearts of stone. It’s been a pleasurable year writing for those that are willing to read, and I’d like to wish both of you a great summer vacation. If any of you have any summer tip-offs for me, my email is up top. If you want to hang out, I’ll be completing my giant picture of a phallus on the union roof.

Want to have your say on the issues covered in The Gown or those matters affecting students more broadly? Get in touch with us at info@thegown.net!

Letters reflect the personal beliefs of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Gown’s editorial team. “Council Should Stop and Think” Is it any wonder that the vast majority of students at Queen’s don't get involved in student politics? The serious issue of lack of priority is at the heart of the business of council. There are issues that affect us as students day to day that get put off. Any student who had lectures in the Emeleus lecture theatre last semester will remember almost falling down the stairs because it was so dark. Instead of addressing this issue

then the council was busy trying to ban Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”. It wasn't until after the incredibly important issue of inappropriate words in a song was addressed that council considered providing lighting for an area that could cause serious physical injury. Now, I fear we once again have an issue that will overshadow small but important everyday changes that could be made (and are attempted by a seeming

minority of the council). The negative coverage the council attracts in pursuing bans on media, or attacking a charity, affects every single one of us. Employers, the community and prospective students all shape their opinions of the University based on what they read and hear about us. The council, when making a decision like this, should stop and think about the effects of their actions on a wider group. What does a prospec-

tive student think of the connotations of this proposal? What do the largely unengaged masses of students think of how time is spent in the council? A serious rethink of the role of council is when issues like banning songs and poppies take away from the good work that many other councillors do - in improving the lives of all students at Queen’s.

in the developing world. How wrong can we be? Our global governments often choose to ignore victims, and at most pay the issue passive lip service. Students, on graduation, will enter into many situations directly involved with the trafficking of people into slavery. Take the time,

care and learn about it, do something by getting involved. Please don’t turn your back on the millions of victims around the world who are voiceless because they are vulnerable to exploitation.

Jonathan McMillan

“Does Ignoring Slavery Make Us Complicit?” Dear Editor, I believe ignoring slavery makes us complicit due to the fact that slavery is part of our everyday lives: through what we wear, eat and buy. No one’s country is free from the horrors of today’s slave trade and the dehu-

manizing effects of human trafficking. Speaking with students revealed not just a lack of knowledge and understanding but very disappointingly a serious lack of interest. I suppose we are comfortable here in our dorms, houses and families; after all this is only something that happens

David


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The Gown

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FIACHRA O’ MAOLCRAOIBHE | NUS-USI Respond to Abortion Ruling KYLIE NOBLE | Students Call for Equal Marriage KYLIE NOBLE | South Belfast Landlord Runs for Election NIALL ROBB & KATY WALLER | Report: NUS Conference 2014

News

AARON RAINEY | DUP Urges Electorate to Consider Transfer Votes

Giro D’Italia Cycling Trial Comes to Queen’s As Belfast bid "Benvenuto" to cycling event the Giro D’Italia, The Gown’s sports editor Michael Doran was there to report on the action. Michael Doran Sports Editor @MichaelDoran_

Sports fans across Ireland were tickled pink on the second weekend of May as a truly world class sporting event came to our shores, the pomp and splendour of the Giro D’Italia weaving its way across our roads on its first venture away from mainland Europe. Queen’s was no different, getting into the spirit with a huge garden party - bringing a taste of Italy to the front of the Lanyon building. The music blasting from a spin bike session on the lawn (from which all proceeds went to RAG charities) and a brass band provided the warm-up to the main event, which came past in the early evening. Lord Mayor Mairtin O’Muilleoir and his ridiculous pink hair joined Queen’s Sport members (who went to similar extremes in

the fashion stakes as part of their pedal power). Cycling fans and interested observers of all ages lined the pavements of Stranmillis and University Road from the early afternoon in anticipation of the “Partenza”, with those not draped in pink finding themselves in the minority. The hordes looked on expectantly, enraptured by the sight of athletes at the top of their craft whizzing past at breakneck pace as they headed for the finish at Donegall Square - 2 miles away - and the famous pink jersey for the leader. Each cycling team passed individually as part of gruellingly quick 21km time trial stage, with Australian side Orica Green Edge sprinting to victory 5 seconds quicker than their nearest rivals. The first stage was marred in part by a broken col-

larbone suffered during a rough East Belfast crash by Irish hopeful Dan Martin. The changeable weather played a part in his mishap, and indeed affected much of the time trial action and coastal road racing the next day. German Marcel Kittel, who won both subsequent stages, admitted that his lasting memories will be of both the fantastic welcome and the miserable conditions. It is hoped the benefits of the joint North/ South investment will be reaped in the next few years across various sectors. According to last year’s statistics, the Giro was broadcast in 174 countries with a global reach of 775 million viewers. While these figures are typically inflated, the prominent coverage of the Lanyon Building on the famed race’s first day will undoubtedly have been welcomed by the University during an era when its International appeal

Cyclists participating in the Giro D’Italia. Photo by Orry Robinson. reaches farther and wider than ever before. And, despite the changeable weather, for those of us who watched live with a ringside seat in

South Belfast, the atmosphere of the day when one of the world’s top sporting events came to our backyard will live long in the memory.

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The Gown

04 News NUS-USI Respond to Abortion Ruling NEWS IN BRIEF

Gown Exclusive on Hourly Paid Work The Gown Staff Members @thegownqub

The Gown has learned that over 2000 teaching staff were paid by the hour during the academic year 2012/13. Documentation provided to the paper by Queen’s UCU states that 2097 “teaching support” staff were classified as “hourly paid workers” between August 2012 and July 2013. Of this total number of payees, 2013 received £5000 or less, with 56 receiving more than £5000 and 10 hourly paid teaching support workers earning over £10000. Also listed were a further 1464 “non-teaching support” hourly paid workers. New Gown Editor Appointed The Gown Staff Members @thegownqub

Current Gown news editor Kylie Noble has been appointed the role of editor of the paper next year, (as the publication celebrates its 60th anniversary), following a meeting of the Gown Trust on May 9th. From everyone at the paper – congratulations and best of luck! NUS-USI President Re-elected The Gown Staff Members @thegownqub

Rebecca Hall has been re-elected President of the National Union of Students – Union of Students Ireland for the year 2014/15, having served in the same position this year. Upon her election victory, Ms Hall said, “I feel extremely honoured to have been re-elected as President of NUS-USI. Animal Rights Rally Held Claire Murray Contributor Hundreds of people from Northern Ireland rallied at Belfast City Hall on Sunday April 27th to demonstrate dissent at what they perceive as the Northern Irish’s legal system’s failures in providing harsh sentences to animal abusers. Organisers claimed the protest was held as a means of being “Pro-active in raising awareness of the leniency of current legislation on Animal Welfare”. Guest speakers included Alliance MP Naomi Long and DUP Councillor Peter Martin. For longer versions of the above news items, please refer to thegown.net.

NUS-USI officers have spoken out concerning the recent High Court ruling that states that women from Northern Ireland do not have the right to free abortions through the NHS in England and Wales. Fiachra O’ Maolcraoibhe News Editor @fiachra1992

NUS-USI Women’s Officer Aisling Gallagher expressed her concern over the ruling that women from Northern Ireland are not entitled to free abortions through the NHS in England and Wales, stating that it is “a worrying development” in the bid for reproductive rights for women living in Northern Ireland. She argued, “Women in Northern Ireland deserve to have the choice” of a legal abortion. NUS-USI President Rebecca Hall said, “What does this ruling say

to women from Northern Ireland? Why should women be treated differently from women elsewhere in the UK? Women deserve change and Northern Ireland deserves change as regards abortion. Government should take the steps necessary to deliver reproductive justice for women in Northern Ireland”. Shortly after the ruling, Queen’s Students’ Union debated a motion put forward to student council concerning a referendum which would have been held early this week - if the motion hadn’t have failed by 24 votes to 23, with 4 abstentions. The referendum would have asked

Queen’s students the question, “Should QUBSU adopt a Pro-Choice position on the issue of reproductive rights?” The call for a referendum came about as the result of the Union adopting a policy of neutrality on the issue after a vote in student council the previous year. Speaking for the motion, student councillor Katy Waller said, “We should ask students what they want. It's our job to give them a chance to be heard”. Councillor Derek Crosby also spoke for the motion, arguing that a "small number of councillors” had decided the stance of the student body and that the debate

should be opened to the wider student population through the process of a referendum. Vice President Equality and Diversity Caoimhe MacNeill refuted Mr Crosby’s claims, suggesting that the meeting to which he referred was well attended, and that that vote should be respectfully upheld. Former Vice President Equality and Diversity Jessica Kirk also took the podium and suggested that some councillors should “get their facts right” about past meetings. She rounded off by saying that a neutral stance was the best stance for the Union.

Students Call for Equal Marriage A motion on equal marriage last month fell before the Northern Ireland Assembly. The Gown reports on the vote – and the rally by which it was preceded. Kylie Noble News Editor @Kylie_Noble94

On Tuesday April 29th the Northern Ireland Assembly voted for the third time to reject equal marriage. The motion had been tabled by Sinn Féin, and included “special protections” for religious institutions. A Stormont debate on the motion saw passionate speeches for and against equal marriage. Mervyn Storey, a DUP MLA, believed that passing the motion would lead to legalisation of polygamy and incest. He argued that “the LGB agenda” is part of a plan to “bring about a social revolution.” Michael Copeland, UUP MLA and one of four unionists who voted in favour of the motion, highlighted the possible damage being enacted on the mental health of the LGBT community, further saying, “I know that the words that we use in the Chamber will echo to reinforce prejudice, or not to reinforce prejudice”. Sinn Fein’s Megan Fearon argued that transgender individuals are discriminated against by current marriage law, and read out comments from Twitter on why citizens wanted equal marriage passed. She asserted that, “The battle for LGBT rights is the equivalent of the civil rights movement for my generation.” Danny Kennedy, UUP, voiced his belief that “Holy Scripture” taught there should be no change to the current provisions for marriage, and that “redefining” marriage would have far-reaching consequences for society. 94 MLAs voted on the motion, of which 43 voted in favour. All 34 nationalists present voted in favour of

Campaigners rally for equal marriage at Belfast City Hall. Photo by The Gown. the motion. 53 unionists voted, with 4 voting in favour. 7 others voted, with 5 voting in favour. The motion was defeated by 51 votes to 43.

Youth, Unite, Green party of Northern Ireland, Socialist Party and SDLP Youth were also represented at the rally.

ity. People are people. They deserve the same rights. Why is Northern Ireland always last to adapt to these issues?”

The motion’s defeat meant that the DUP did not use the petition of concern to block its progress: a suggestion which had previously been proposed by the party.

A strong contingent of students from Queen’s and the University of Ulster attended, including Queen’s Students’ Union President Niall McShane, and Vice President Equality and Diversity Caoimhe McNeill.

Caitríona Ruane was bolstered by the enthusiasm shown at the rally, stating that, “When people’s rights are being denied they need to stand up and be visible.”

Prior to the debate, a rally in favour of equal marriage was held on the evening of Monday 28th April at Belfast City Hall (jointly organised by The Rainbow Project and National Union of Students – Union of Students Ireland). Alliance’s Anna Lo and Naomi Long, NI21’s Basil McCrea and Tina McKenzie and Sinn Féin’s Catriona Ruane and Máirtín Ó Muilleoir were present.

Anna Lo of Alliance discussed some of her party colleagues’ opposition to the party policy: “As a party we’re very much behind equal marriage: in September 2012 81% of the membership voted in favour. We are a liberal party, this is policy. A few MLAs hold views on this. The whip won’t be forced; we have to engage with further dialogue. It is like in England - the Lib Dems and Tories were not 100% in agreement”.

The Queen’s LGBT society, Public and Commercial Services Union, Irish Congress of Trade Unions

Basil McCrea was the only pro-union MLA present at the rally. Mr McCrea told The Gown, “It’s a matter of equal-

Rebecca Hall, President of NUS-USI, said, “It is vital that politicians back Equal Marriage in the vote in the Assembly tomorrow. Northern Ireland much catch up with other places in terms of delivering equality on this vitally important issue. There can be no excuse for not voting for Equal Marriage. This is a brilliant opportunity to show that Northern Ireland is moving forward, and politicians must not miss the chance to support Equal Marriage. It is crucial that politicians are on the right side of history as regards equality”.


The Gown

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News South Belfast Landlord Runs for Election

05

A well-known landlord in South Belfast is standing for election for a seat on Belfast City Council on May 22nd. Kylie Noble News Editor @Kylie_Noble94

Declan Boyle owns properties in the Holylands area and is standing for the SDLP alongside veteran SDLP councillor Pat McCarthy. Mr Boyle currently chairs the Landlord Association for Northern Ireland. Mr Boyle had opposed the introduction of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) which was authorised by the Department for Social Development from April 2013 to provide both a custodial and insurance based Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme in Northern Ireland. The TDS aims to protect tenancy deposits for private for private tenancies and resolves disputes over their allocation in the event the landlord and tenant cannot agree. In comments provided to the BBC last year, the landlord expressed criticism of the scheme. He stated, "It's

very onerous and the penalties here are going to be more severe than in the UK, for whatever reason”. Speaking to The Gown, Mr Boyle expanded on his concerns about the scheme: “What it was - which is still the case - we have much less time to register your deposit: it’s bureaucratic and not in line with the rest of the UK. If it was brought in line with the rest of the UK it would be fine. The point is there’s a very small time to register the deposit, much less than the rest of the UK. The issue isn’t that anyone is opposing to protecting anyone’s deposit - it’s not the issue at all. The issue is we have at least half the time. The principle of the scheme is fine – there are issues with the inner workings of it”. The National Union of Students and Union of Students in Ireland (NUSUSI) campaigned heavily for the introduction of TDS. Former President Adrianne Peltz commented to the BBC also: "We hear horror stories

of students and other people who have rented a house and at end of the contract have left it in excellent condition but have had their deposit withheld by an unscrupulous landlord. The vast majority of landlords behave in an impeccable manner and care about the welfare of their tenants, so I am sure that they will welcome these developments. This scheme will safeguard their good reputations and help prevent bad landlords from tarnishing the image of their industry”, Ms Peltz added. VP Welfare 2010-2012 Adam McGibbon was familiar with Mr Boyle throughout his term in office. “Students will rightly ask whether they want one of the Holylands' most notorious landlords - someone who is on record opposing any form of landlord regulation and who has overseen the degradation of the area - as one of their representatives in Belfast City Hall”, said Mr McGibbon. He continued, “It speaks volumes that the SDLP, a self-proclaimed

party of social justice, could nominate such a person. The SDLP is no longer Social Democratic, or Labour - now it's just the Surgeons, Doctors and Landlords Party”. Mr Boyle tried to set up a lettings agency which used “QUB” in its title. Mr McGibbon argued that, “One of his [Mr Boyle’s] more ridiculous attempts at misconception involved setting up a front company called QUB Lettings; the QUB standing for Queen’s University. Ulster University and Belfast Metropolitan College this was him attempting to undercut the opening of SU Lets the following year”. A Gown report in April 2011 noted that, “A letting agency in the South Belfast area, called QUB students Rentals, has raised alarms in the Students’ Union. The company is completely unrelated to the university which VP Welfare Adam McGibbon says may mislead students. He says, ‘It’s important to underline that QUB Rentals have nothing to do with Queen’s or the Students’ Union’”.

Mr Boyle rejects that founding QUB Lettings was an attempt to mislead students: “It never had to be affiliated. That name if you look at it, you have Q for housing Queen’s students, U was for housing University of Ulster students and B was for housing Belfast Met students. It was extremely creative. Somebody put 2 and 2 together and came out with 5. It was Q.U.B - to bring together how, for years, we have been renting to Queen’s, Ulster and Belfast Met students”. If elected onto Belfast City Council Mr Boyle wants to work for not only students but also the wider South Belfast community: “I wouldn’t single out anybody, I will work for everybody. It’s not simply to work for students or work against students, or to work against anyone. It’s to work positively for everybody in my area. I would hope to highlight any and all issues, provided they are in the remit of the council”.

Delegates Report from NUS Conference 2014 Niall Robb and Kathryn Waller discuss their experience as National Union of Students (NUS) Conference delegates and have some observations to share. Niall Robb Contributor Katy Waller Contributor For three days in Liverpool, we were Queen’s delegates to the NUS conference, with 950 other students and sabbatical officers. It was a great opportunity to influence national policy and to set the tone for the year ahead. The most interesting aspect of the conference was the overt politicking on display - there appeared to be a clear divide between the moderate National Executive Council and the more progressive, left wing delegates from groups such as Student Broad Left and National Campaign Against

Fees and Cuts. Navigating this would have been a nightmare for two first time delegates without the help of conference veteran (and fellow Queen’s student) Matt Williamson.

opportunity to meet other delegates from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. As well as this, the fringe events gave us an opportunity to hear from other delegates about the work

of constant action. Tuesday’s business began at 9am and didn’t finish until after 9pm - with the two fringe breaks the only time after midday when there was nothing scheduled

motion were pre-designated, and the only unassigned part of any motion was the portion against. The closed nature of the debate meant that no Queen’s delegate had a chance to

The split was most clearly shown in the debate around amendment 501a: to commit the NUS to supporting the principle of free education, rather than a graduate tax. The amendment was proposed by Aaron Kiely from the NUS Black Students Committee and was opposed by members of the NEC including national President Toni Pearce. The vote passed narrowly, with several abstentions.

which they do in their Unions. As council members, this gave us ideas about what we could do in our own Union – we were particularly impressed by the alliterative Hallowe’en Housing Horror Stories event which was put on for first year students in Brighton and Hove.

on the conference floor. Four days of business (like those at USI Congress) would have been better, as motions and, in one case, an entire policy section didn’t get discussed because of time shortages. This was disappointing for those Unions who had worked hard on motions, including representatives from Belfast Met. This also meant that all but the first of the “statements” sections were cut out – the chance for any delegate to get on stage and speak to conference on their own topic. The speakers proposing and summarising any

speak, despite some wanting to.

The Nations Reception on the first evening (organised by NUS Scotland, NUS Wales and NUS-USI) was a great

While the conference was interesting, it was also exhausting and inaccessible. Poor timetabling left delegates without time for lunch or dinner breaks, and two of the three days were twelve hours long or more

Nonetheless, the conference was a rewarding experience where we got to meet many inspiring activists - and has definitely given us many ideas to put into place in our own Students’ Union. It was fantastic to meet so many people who were so involved and dedicated to the student movement, and has refreshed and inspired us for the ongoing fight ahead - to protect students and to preserve the fundamental principle of education as a right, not a privilege.

DUP Urges Electorate to Consider Transfer Votes Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, Peter Robinson, has urged the electorate to transfer votes to other unionist parties including UKIP. Aaron Rainey Contributor In a recent speech at his party’s spring conference in Newcastle, DUP leader Peter Robinson commented “Within unionism, division costs. Wasted votes, lost seats, lost power and lost influence”. He went on to say “On the nationalist side there are two simple choices, whereas unionism is split and splintered over more than half a dozen options”. Mr Robinson’s appeal echoed calls from UUP leader Mike Nesbitt for unionists to unite in the upcoming European elections. The two leaders feel this is a necessary step in

order to ensure two out of the three elected MEP’s from Northern Ireland originate from the unionist bloc. Mr Robinson advocates votes being transferred to what he perceives as the next two largest unionist parties, UKIP and the UUP. He stated “Coming behind us, the UUP and UKIP are the two main parties likely to pick up votes” and that “People squander and weaken their vote if they go outside the main parties who are standing”. This endorsement of UKIP highlights their significance as a political force. They are widely expected to poll highly in the upcoming European elections. Mr Robinson’s comments also ruled out votes being

transferred to the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) or NI21, led by Basil McCrea. The TUV are often seen as the hard-core branch of unionism, while NI21 are at the opposite end of the spectrum, and are labelled “moderate” unionists. The DUP leader did not encourage voting for the Alliance Party, stating that the party could no longer be viewed a “small ‘u’ unionist party” after voting to limit the number of days the Union flag is flown at Belfast City Hall. Recent comments by Anna Lo (MLA for South Belfast) that the partition of Ireland was “artificial” and a united Ireland would be “better placed economically, socially

and politically” have also no doubt damaged the party’s standing in the eyes of some unionists. Unsurprisingly, both Alliance and the TUV have criticised Robinson’s comments. In a statement released on the Alliance website, Ms Lo remarked, “I have to question Peter Robinson's decision to urge DUP voters to transfer their votes to UKIP”. She went on to ask “Does this mean that the DUP supports the UKIP policy that there should be a single income tax rate where the poor pay more tax while the rich will pay less? Do they also support their proposal that key health services, from ambulances to GP surgeries,

should be auctioned off to private companies?” Ms Lo also questioned the rationale of the DUP supporting a party whose policies “will only damage Northern Ireland's economic prospects”. The TUV were similarly critical of Robinson’s comments. Their leader Jim Allister claimed them as evidence the DUP were “spooked” by the TUV and had revealed “just how much [the] TUV worries Mr Robinson and his party”. Mr Allister did however appear to advocate the principle of voting for fellow unionist parties by voting “down the card for all the pro-Union candidates”.


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06 Arts GOWN ABOUT TOWN Peter McGoran Arts Editor @PeterMcGoran

Theatre Presented as part of a global programme of commemorative events marking one hundred years since the outbreak of the First World War, How Many Miles to Babylon? is a stirring adaptation of the novel by one of Ireland’s most celebrated and popular authors, Jennifer Johnston. How Many Miles to Babylon? Runs from the 27th of April to the 24th of May at the Lyric Theatre. Film Showing at the QFT, Frank is an offbeat comedy is about a young wannabe musician, Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), who finds himself out of his depth when he joins an avant-garde pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank (Michael Fassbender), a musical genius who hides himself inside a large fake head, and his terrifying bandmate Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal).

Gigs/ Concerts American indie rock group Neutral Milk Hotel play Limelight on the 15th of May. After their much awaited reunion last year, the band is paying their dues to the large cult following they’ve built up since their ground-breaking album In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

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PETER MCGORAN | Exhibition of the Month: The Art of the Troubles ANNA CAFOLLA | Best of the Fests in Summer 2014 TARA MCEVOY | QUB Commemorates Seamus Heaney PETER MCGORAN | Belfast festival at Queen’s: A History

Exhibition of the Month: The Art of the Troubles

Running from the April 11th until September 7th, this collaborative exhibition comprises over sixty pieces, spanning five decades - from the beginning of the Troubles to the present day.

Peter McGoran Arts Editor @PeterMcGoran

The exhibition begins with Distant Image, a painting by Louis LeBrocquy, depicting a hand reaching out in anguish, covering a ghostly, aged face against a white backdrop. The “distance” in the image is a reflection of the distance between communities, between violence and peace, and between those who suffer and those who create the suffering. As an introduction, its complexity prepares us for a diverse collection of work - all of which, by its nature, aims to provoke and to problematize previously held ideas about the Northern Irish conflict: eschewing commonly held narratives and challenging media representations. The exhibition is divided into five sections: Conflict, Circumstance, Captured, Community and Continuance. Whilst no work can be cosily confined to a specific section, the divisions act as guidance points, and show the lengths to which the Ulster Museum has gone to ensure that this exhibition is broad in its scope. The works here

Reviews Film (Panache Productions) Suzanne

are inspired by a wide range of artistic movements, utilising varying mediums. Each piece is rendered important by its ability to shock and to surprise (the “Captured” section is a particularly clever response to reportage of the conflict). The “Circumstance” and “Community” sections are juxtaposed; the former section offering explanations of why and how the Troubles started, with the latter offering reasons as to why it persisted for so long. The grand paintwork Peace Talks by Jack Pakenham explores the subtleties, emotions and the unique nature of this conflict. For those less engaged with painting and sculptures, the stunning filmic work of Willie Doherty’s short, Remains, wonderfully captures the tribal divisions and the suffering engendered throughout thirty years. The final section, “Continuance”, is sure to be a wake-up call to anyone who thinks that the issues surrounding the conflict have been fully resolved; focussing on social issues of poverty and sectarianism, it explores the legacy of the Troubles and the work still to be done to ensure a lasting peace.

The Art of the Troubles exhibition. Photo by The Gown. But by far the most impactful work on display is Ballad No. 1, 1992 by Philip Napier. Combining movement and sound, the piece depicts the well-known image of Bobby Sands’ portrait - recreated using accordion buttons. It features a broken accordion playing a haunting, unsettling note on repeat. The music seems to follow you until you find yourself subconsciously

of the Troubles - where the citizens of Northern Ireland had to effectively drown out the sounds of continuous, unceasing violence and graphic media reports.

drowning it out, representing the stalemate that characterised much

requiring more than one visit, as there is a lot to sink your teeth into.

Overall, it’s a stimulating and eyeopening exhibition, thankfully doing justice to the amount of artist output from the Troubles. You’ll find yourself

The Gown gives you the run down of the music, theatre and cinema to check out over the coming weeks (and what you might want to avoid)! Book (Harvard University Press) Thomas Piketty - Capital in the 21st Century

Film (Belfast Film Festival)

By James Smith It says something when a book is so stuffed full of facts that an abridged version is released alongside it so mortals can actually read it. Capital in the 21st Century by economist Thomas Piketty is 700 pages of pure, uncompromising research - a word that is sorely misused in economics by those who cherry-pick facts to suit their own conclusions; but if Mr Piketty is cherry picking, then he must have a found a very big tree indeed. The book is an exhaustive look at the history of capital in the last 300 years in 20 different countries. Most importantly, it argues that huge inequality is not the result of a defective capitalist system, but is the natural result of capitalism itself.

By Chantelle Frampton As the fourteenth Belfast Film Festival drew to its end, it was clear that the closing night had to be big and innovative to do justice to a fantastic week and a half. Luckily, the climax was nothing short of amazing. With George A. Romero’s 1978 cult horror classic Dawn of the Dead one of the greatest Zombie movies of all time, it’s not surprising that it was chosen as the concluding flick for the festival. We were able to witness a very rare version of the movie which intertwined Romero’s original alongside Dario Argento’s European cut (sometimes referred to as Zombie). Seeing a combination of the two was something new and original.

Dawn of the Dead with Live Sound-

Album (Warner Bros. Records) Sheryl Crow – Feels Like Home

track

was released in 1999. They’re performing in as many different venues as they can - and this gig will be one to relish. Give them a listen and you’ll be converted. Festivals The 16th annual Open House Festival takes place this year between June 18th and 26th. Boasting a line-up featuring songwriting talent from Midlake to David C. Clements, Hannah Peel to Sons of Caliber, this is one bot to be missed for folk fans. Festival takes place between May 31st and June 1st, in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. The lineup is typically diverse (with acts such as the Flaming Lips, Warpaint, Flying Lotus and Public Enemy converging on the site) – so grab your wellies and head down to kick off the summer season!

By Tommy Greene Suzanne details the painful story of a young French woman living in a tough Marseille neighbourhood, much of whose time is spent grappling with the problems posed by small-time criminal boyfriends, the law, and personal self-destruction - as if being a single mother wasn’t tough enough. Katell Quillévéré’s film is a slow-moving, intense drama about personal struggle, family breakdown and the endurance of the human spirit in the face of adversity and despair. These characters repeatedly find themselves having to pick up the pieces of their broken lives and start anew, while a cruel and directionless universe just keeps sweeping them along its path.

By Ella Wintour It’s been over twenty years since Sheryl Crow released her first album, Tuesday Night Music Club. Yet her ninth album, Feels Like Home, was marketed in America as her “country music debut”. Fans of Crow will know that although she has always been categorised as a pop-rock artist, her music has had a country twang. “We Oughta Be Drinkin”, for example, is about living like a character in a country song, where she implores us to head out instead of watching Nashville at home. Tammy Wynnette and Patsy Cline-esque numbers follow (see “Waterproof Mascara”). But there are also bouts of Crow’s trademark attitude - like opening song “Shotgun” and, “Best of Times”.


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Best of the Festivals in Summer 2014 Undecided as to your festival destination of choice this summer? Let us help – here’s The Gown’s guide to the top festivals on offer over the next few months. Anna Cafolla Contributor

The festival experience is like no other; sitting in a field with a belly full of decanted wine and cheesy chips, watching tents and Hannah Montana fold up chairs float by in a sea of muck to the sounds of The Black Keys, Fake Blood, Beyonce, or whichever eighties band have reformed next for the occasion. You’re covered in dirt and overpriced glitter, sporting a straw trilby that you purchased at the festival gate, and a layer of the special kind of sweat and euphoria that you’re only going to experience at a music festival. With Coachella kick-starting the season and the devastating news that Oxegen – the seventeen year old’s mecca - has been cancelled, it’s time to start sussing out where you’ll be dragging your bags of knee high socks, packs of face paints and inflatables. 1. Life Festival (May 23rd – 25th) Dance to the beats of Nina Kraviz, Groove Armada, Ben Pearce and Ejeca, with this bouncing Westmeath festival casting shadows along the lake and gloriously green grounds of Belvedere house. Life has

been applauded by Resident Advisor as one of its top dance music festivals this summer, and with a lineup that offers the cream of the local crop, as well as house and techno giants, it’s not one to be missed. Ticket prices are competitive–but be quick because each tier is selling out fast. 2. Primavera Sound (May 28th – 31st) This Spanish festival has been around for over a decade, with everyone from Patti Smith to the Pet Shop Boys and Bon Iver gracing the Barcelona stage over the years. This year they welcome Queens of the Stone Age, Haim, Warpaint and Neutral Milk Hotel amongst many others, and extend into the city itself - with local and international acts playing in clubs and restaurants. It’s a festival at the heart of the music industry, running autumn event Primavera Club and conference Primavera Pro alongside the festival. 3. Bestival (September 4th – 7th) Situated on the Isle of Wight, the colourful and award-winning Bestival offers a multi-sensory experience. The lineup includes an array of acts to suit every musical taste going, boasting the likes of Outkast,

Revellers at Bestival. Photo from Wikimedia Commons. London Grammar, Daniel Avery and Clean Bandit. The boutique festival also provides stellar entertainment that will have you on your feet for the full four days, so you can work out with Mr Motivator or at Reggaerobics, watch films in the forest, or play Last Man Standing in the Grand Palace. Don’t forget to get a picture at the Bestival letter sign!

4. Unknown (September 8th – 12th) Bringing the season to a close is a festival brought to you by the creators of Hideout, The Warehouse Project and Parklife. Croatia finds itself increasingly popular with festival organisers, with Outlook, Dimensions and Hideout all situated on its sunny

shores. Although only in its second year, Unknown has already attracted a huge buzz (and hoards of revellers) to the Croatian town of Rovinj. With a heavily cultivated line-up that features Chic, Disclosure, Seth Troxler, Tale of Us and Dusky, as well as boat parties that have been hosted by Fact Mag, Kompakt and THUMP, you’re spoilt for choice.

QUB Commemorates Belfast Festival at Queen’s: Seamus Heaney A History

With the future of the Belfast Festival at Queen’s uncertain, The Gown explores its colourful history.

Queen’s University last month played host to a major literary event: “Seamus Heaney – A Conference and Commemoration”. Tara McEvoy Editor @tara_mcevoy

“Seamus Heaney – A Conference and Commemoration” spanned four days (Thursday April 10th – Sunday April 14th), and attracted critics and poets from across the globe for a series of lectures and panels. Included in the timetable of events were two public readings, held on the conference’s opening and closing nights, at the Ulster Hall and Lyric Theatre.

The former (sold-out) reading saw acclaimed writers Carol Ann Duffy, Peter McDonald, Paula Meehan and Don Patterson grace the stage of the Bedford street venue, introduced by the Seamus Heaney Centre’s Dr Sinéad Morrissey. Sunday night’s event at the Lyric Theatre, Stranmillis, featured readings from Michael Longley, Medbh McGuckian and Gerald Dawe, and was compared by Queen’s lecturer Dr Eamonn Hughes. Paul Durcan, who had been due to participate in the reading, was unable to attend.

Peter McGoran Arts Editor @PeterMcGoran

Doubts have been raised about the future of the Belfast Festival at Queen’s as the event - the biggest of its kind in Ireland – is due to receive massive cuts in funding. Roisin McDonough, chief executive of the Stormont arts and culture committee, told the Belfast Telegraph: "The festival is happening this year, and we are pleased about that – but terms of reference have been agreed for a strategic review in conjunction with Queen's”. In light of this, The Gown took a look back on the history of the festival and its significance for the city and for Queen’s. Humble Beginnings

The Heaney Centre’s Professor Ciaran Carson and Dr Sinéad Morrissey. Photo from Queen’s Communications Department.

The festival began in 1962 when the Student Representative Council took a decision to gather some of the artistic societies in Queens together under the umbrella of an “Arts Festival '61”. The festival grew under the leadership of Queen’s student Michael Emmerson who, in 1964, helped to bring in professional, external acts– one of the first of these being author Anthony Burgess who came to Belfast to give an early reading from his then recentlyreleased novel, A Clockwork Orange.

Bolstered by a wave of artistic creativity that swept over Belfast in the 1960s, the Festival gained in popularity and provided a platform for emerging artists like Seamus Heaney. As the decade went on, the annual festival grew bigger and bigger, able to accommodate international acts like Jimi Hendrix. By 1969, it held over 100 events spanning two weeks. Wintering out “The Troubles” As the Troubles gripped the city, the festival took a brief hiatus. It returned in 1973 with a new director, Michael Barnes. Trying to put on such a largescale cultural event during troubled times was no easy feat but the organisers spoke of the Festival as an “act of defiance” amidst the violence of the city. As the Belfast Festival Anthology records: “Putting on an international Festival took commitment and above all a belief in the transformative power of art for the city, a belief that the yearly ritual of putting on something which at first glance seems so unimportant in the great scheme of things, was in fact an act of great importance to the city as a whole”. This courage and persistence led to the festival becoming the secondbiggest of its kind in the entire British Isles by 1979.

By 1980, the Grand Opera House had reopened in the city centre. This was seen by many as the first sign of a lasting cultural regeneration for the city – such a venue could attract big names and successful acts to Belfast. This regeneration steadily grew so that by the 1990s the Belfast Festival had solidified its place in Belfast’s culture. It has become, in recent times, synonymous with innovation, experimentation and originality, encompassing a broad range of genres and consistently showing support for local talent. The Festival Today In recent years the festival has been shaken by financial worries and stiff competition from other festivals like Féile an Phobail. This makes the news of the Festival’s latest monetary crisis somewhat unsurprising. But if there is anything that the festival has taught us in its complex history, it’s the power of its own resilience. If it can bring in international artists to the city at a time when bombs and bullets abound, surely we can expect it to bounce back from a few financial problems? (Research from The Belfast Festival Anthology and The Belfast Festival at Queen’s website).


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VIOREL VLAD | Immigrating to Belfast: My Experience LISA KELLY | Homeless Belfast: The Community Groups Making a Difference NIALL COLEMAN | IAn Interview with Cannabis NI LAURA SHIELDS | Record Store Way of Life

Features

JAMES DOUGLAS | Total Decrypt of the Heart

Immigrating to Belfast: My Experience Viorel Vlad immigrated to the UK from Romania to undertake his third level education. Here, he explains how he’s found the experience – and why it’s important for everyone to inform themselves on immigration. Viorel Vlad Contributor I’m a Romanian immigrant living in Northern Ireland. I did my undergraduate degree (with its fees covered by my parents’ savings) in London, at Brunel; graduated with a First and got into a PhD in cancer research over here. There’s virtually nothing going on in my field at the moment in Romania, so I will have to spend the rest of my career nomadically chasing funding and research positions in the rest of the world, with almost no option of going back home for a suitable job. If my research ever positively impacts cancer treatment, it will do so in Northern Ireland, the UK and the rest of the EU much sooner than it will in Romania. There are a good bunch of us - foreigners you would call “young professionals” - who greatly benefit the countries which host them and, en masse, cause a “brain drain” in their country of origin.

I don’t know exactly how one would define a “typical” Romanian immigrant. Whenever we paint a large group of people with the same brush, we tend to forget about each member’s individuality and humanity. The “average” Romanian immigrants would probably share some characteristics: they might struggle to make ends meet in a home country which is still rebuilding after a horrible totalitarian regime, followed by a period of unbridled corruption and dog-eat-dog capitalism. They would be well accustomed to the English language, and British and Irish culture, as a result of the media they’ve been exposed to in Romania. They would have families back home that they’d miss and care about. They would probably work any job they could work, as long as, at the end of month, they could put away some savings after tax and expenses. Yes, they would one day seek to return home with those savings.

The good news is that a lot of recent studies have shown that this sort of immigration benefits everybody, including the host country. Even though it may seem like immigrants are taking your jobs, turns out - in the long run - they’re actually improving the economy (you might want to look in other directions for the real source of current “native” unemployment). Sure, a lot of the negative talk about immigration is about foreign criminals and “benefit scroungers” coming into the country. What’s important to remember that making it easier for legal immigrants to exist within the system does not mean making it easier for people to break the law. Funny thing about criminals of any nationality: they don’t seem to care much about the law by definition. The other major objection some people seem to have about immigration concerns the Roma, a sepa-

rate ethnic group from Romanians (although a large number of Roma are Romanian nationals) who have historically been classified as “undesirables”, and rendered the victims of centuries of slavery, purging attempts and institutionalised racism. That issue alone deserves more than one article dedicated just to it. Suffice to say that we could do with a more understanding - and less bigoted - way of living alongside Europe’s Roma (the majority of whom are actually fully integrated in their societies and countries, if one dares to look deeper than sensationalist media portrayals). As an immigrant, I am, at times, frightened by the attitudes displayed towards me by the media, and in my everyday life - just on the basis of my nationality. During the past five years in the UK (even though my legal status has improved to the point that I now do not require a work permit for a full

time job), I’ve felt my social value - and safety - as a human who happens to be a Romanian deteriorate. That’s why I urge you to inform yourself before you go on to vote (or develop a strong opinion about this issue). Read about immigration, Romania, the Roma, etc.; ask us questions, befriend us, come visit (seriously, we have a beautiful country and it’s inexpensive to travel there), do business with our country, profit from being in a union with us and help the EU be all that it can be. If you’re already pro-immigration and know others who aren’t, sit down for a drink with them, inform and allay their fears on our part. The current climate of fear and distrust, coupled with a tendency towards singleissue politics and finger-pointing at minorities, isn’t helping anyone.

Homeless Belfast: The Community Groups Making a Difference

Volunteer for the Welcome Centre and Regenerate NI blogger Lisa Kelly describes her work, and encourages others to lend their time to a very worthy cause.

Lisa Kelly Contributor

My name is Lisa Kelly. I am 24 years old. I became homeless as a result of a family breakdown when I was 17, which caused me to leave home and come to Belfast to try to find suitable accommodation. I was sofa surfing for the best part of two years - then I met my uncle, who worked in the Morning Star hostel. He introduced me to the Welcome Organisation, an amazing Belfastbased homelessness charity. The Welcome Organisation have a drop-in centre near the city centre, and also operate an outreach van that drives around Belfast everyday supporting our city’s homeless and vulnerable adults.

socially and economically active citizens”. Moving from a hostel into supported accommodation allowed me to start to gain my own independence. This was when I started to become a regular service user of the Welcome Organisation. The organisation started to allow me to volunteer in the kitchen three to four days a week, helping me build my work experience and chance of employment in the catering industry. Through this I started to get involved in other things, such as Regenerate NI. Regenerate NI is a charitable organisation that regenerates local communities; we go into shared spaces and give them a “facelift”. Regenerate NI volunteers with Belfast’s Lord Mayor. Photo from Regenerate NI.

The Welcome Organisation assessed me and made a referral to Regina Coeli Hostel, who called a few days later to say that I had been accepted. I lived there for two years, before being referred to the Flax Foyer Housing Association Project. Flax Foyer’s aim is to “provide safe, affordable accommodation with access to training, education and employment opportunities from which young people are empowered to become

Our work has included regenerating a drop-in centre for the homeless, starting a community allotment, painting a homelessness-themed mural and creating a Christmas decoration social enterprise that raised £900 for the homeless. Every week we have a team meeting and after that I do a write-up of what was discussed and upload it to Regenerate NI’s website, where I have my own per-

sonal blog, to keep people updated. We are currently planning to do a cross-community project with a local church. What’s really important to me is for people to know the seriousness of homelessness and the accompanying problems. One of the biggest problems is safety, for example people on the streets; as a result of people living on the streets people

they can become vulnerable to addictions and developing mental health issues. It is important to remember that not everyone has the same routes into homelessness and sometimes people can be just two pay cheques away from it themselves. I would really like to raise awareness of how difficult it is for people not only living on the streets but for

people who are in temporary accommodation. Just because you manage to get into a hostel, it doesn’t mean that all your problems will be solved. This issue is one very close to my heart – there are already many fantastic organisations that provide help as well as aftercare for those who need it, but I know so much more can be done. Help me to help others who are in the position that I was in.


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An Interview with Cannabis NI As several US states legalise the recreational use of Marijuana, Niall Coleman speaks to Cannabis NI – a local group who advocate the drug’s consumption. Niall Coleman Contributor

Your average Easter Sunday would probably be one of the year's designated days of leisure: it's a tradition. Indeed, the weather was perfect for those participating in "4:20" celebrations this year in Botanic, who gathered to show support for their cause, baking in the Easter sun. Peaceful protesters gathered in Botanic Gardens, unrolling a large banner which read, "PSNI - End the Hate Crimes Against the Cannabis Community". Following the demonstration, The Gown caught up with Cannabis NI,

an organisation dedicated to the legalisation of “the herb” to hear what they had to say. The organisation told us that, "Every member of the UK cannabis community is victimized by legislation which pretends that cannabis is a dangerous drug which has no medical value, and that alcohol and tobacco need not be classified as dangerous drugs at all”. Speaking on the issue of material commonly disseminated to dissuade people from using cannabis, the group bemoaned what they called an "intense government propaganda war against cannabis”, further arguing that current drug legislation

“violates convention rights and has brought the law into disrepute”. Cannabis is currently being legalised at a fast pace across the United States due – in large part - to the support of medical authorities and state legislators who advocate its use, and do not see it as dangerous. Whilst such action mightn’t be on the horizon for Northern Ireland, Cannabis NI had strong words for UK politicians, accusing the current administration of acting in a manner, “Totally at odds with [their] remit - to deliver our health and social care on the basis of evidence and outcome”. Marijuana. Photo by Torben Hansen.

Record Store Way of Life Did you catch any of the events happening around the city in celebration of Record Store Day 2014? The Gown recaps on the day – and examines the growing popularity of vinyl.

Is vinyl undergoing a renaissance? Photo by David Little. Laura Shields Contributor On Saturday 19th April, music enthusiasts and vinyl collectors on both sides of the Atlantic queued outside their local independent record stores to get their hands on limited edition music, released in conjunction with Record Store Day. Established in 2007

as a celebration of the vinyl medium and the culture of independent music stores, Record Store Day has grown exponentially in popularity and scale since its conception. This year’s RSD witnessed live gigs from acts such as Green Day, Nirvana, Bob Dylan and Status Quo. In Belfast, a total of four independent

stores took part in the annual event. Head - one of the bigger stores - attracted a large crowd who queued for hours ahead of the 8am opening time. Perhaps this turnout is surprising, given that we live in the age of digital music and online purchasing. The vast majority of Record Store Day releases were in vinyl format, which might be perceived as somewhat out-dated in 2014. Yet the crowd was diverse - proving the event, and indeed the media, remains relevant. A large number of pre/early teens joined the queue outside Head after the store announced they would have a limited number of copies of 5 Seconds of Summer tapes. These were among the first releases to sell out (leaving a number of fans disappointed). A new One Direction vinyl release offered some condolences to the younger crowd. Not everyone left disheartened though: one music enthusiast made

their way out of Head with a stack of vinyl and commented, “I was queuing for ages before the shop even opened, but it paid off. The atmosphere was kind of tense. The girls in front of us were counting how many people left the shop with bags to figure out if they had a chance to get whatever it was they were looking for”. Rory, a staff member at Head (who handled the crowd excellently) was also enthusiastic about what was to be a busy day: “It’s great for the industry and music lovers. It’s all a bit of fun”. Belfast’s newest independent store, Sick Records, also took part in their first Record Store Day. Stocking a number of exclusive releases, they hosted live performances throughout the day - notably from big name band Little Matador. The band made the transition from sharing the Odyssey Arena stage with Queens of the Stone Age to local shop front well,

with Nathan Connolly (also of Snow Patrol) stating, “It’s great to be here supporting local businesses like this”, before kicking off with a cover of Lorde’s “Royals”. Good Vibrations and Dragon Records also had live music in store to celebrate the day. Record Store Day in Belfast proved an accessible event for fans of music from all genres and generations. Sick Records’ manager addressed the future of the industry and the medium, arguing, “There is no evidence that vinyl is a fad”. He continued, “We don’t want to pile-them-high-sellthem-cheap. We want local bands playing here every week… If Glasgow, Manchester and Liverpool can sustain five or six good independent stores, why not Belfast?” What the event proved, then, is that every day has the potential to be a “Record Store Day” – what’s more: the people of Belfast want it to be.

Total Decrypt of the Heart: How Safe is Your PC? April saw the emergence and death of the Heartbleed computer virus, which quickly made its way onto Twitter’s trending list. James Douglas Assistant News Editor @JCDouglas11

The social media frenzy surrounding the security hole exploded by the Heartbleed virus was nothing short of astonishing, but what is most interesting about the phenomenon is not any potential danger web users may have been put in as a result of the defective encryption - but the nature of Heartbleed’s initial discovery.

of their visitors. This includes names, email addresses, and of course the dreaded credit card details which are at the centre of all good internet horror stories. It is thought that up to half a million sites were affected by the bug, enough to throw the internet-using public into a state of relative hysteria. (Relative because if you’re to believe our generation’s wise predecessors, then we’re all incapable of caring about anything for more than a few hours).

The term “Heartbleed virus” refers to a bug discovered in a piece of open source security software, called OpenSSL. It has been estimated that approximately two-thirds of websites use this software to protect the data

More interesting, however, is how quickly it escalated to epidemic level – not in terms of its capacity for identity or monetary theft, but for the speed with which awareness of its existence spread across the

web like cancerous data packets. In the 48 hours following the discovery of the security failure, web managers scurried to patch the issue and users frantically changed their many passwords. The irony of the whole thing was that people became aware of the threat via proof-of-concept rather than any malicious exploit of the bug. It was very much a case of the chicken and the egg, when one considers that there may have been no threat at all to users until the problem was identified and globally publicised. The security firm Kaspersky said in a blog, “Exploiting Heartbleed leaves no traces so there is no definitive way to tell if the server was hacked and what kind of data was stolen”. The traceless

nature of Heartbleed means we still do not know how much and to what extent data was compromised. The excitement and hysteria surrounding Heartbleed is due largely to the far-reaching influence of social media, coupled with the iconoclastic symbol of a bleeding heart which quickly became synonymous with the bug. The fact that bloggers and journalists have been capitalising on its name is testament to the status it has achieved as a fear-instilling menace to web users’ security. Heartbleed has not been without its positive effects: namely the increased awareness of internet security to which it has contributed. Simply

encouraging the public to think and talk about internet security and encryption is a great thing. Apps like Lastpass and 1Password, which store and protect users’ passwords, have seen a huge surge in downloads. Lastpass alone gained 125,000 new users in just seven days – typically they see numbers of around 35,000 per week. We may never know to what extent the internet-using public were harmed by the bug, but this is ultimately irrelevant. What does matter is that Heartbleed leaves a legacy of prudence and a fresh awareness regarding the secure and responsible maintenance of personal information on the web.


T U E S D A Y 1 3 T H M A Y 2 0 1 4

The Gown

10 Lifestyle

e FREDDIE CLARKE | The Facts of Exam Season AMY SLACK | QUB Jobs: Where the Vacancies Find You KATIE ENGLISH | Avoid a Bummer Summer! Tips for Student Travel

The Facts of Exam Season It’s hard to believe that finals are rapidly approaching once again: while some of us are exam season veterans at this point, others may be sitting their first university exams. Freddie Clarke Contributor

It’s important for all of us to refamiliarise with exam season etiquette. Here at The Gown, we would like to offer some tips and truths about life at Queen’s around exam time. Starting off: Just like quitting smoking, starting on the revision path is the hardest bit - but try to break through this wall as early as possible. Lock yourself in a room and detox from the student lifestyle. You may feel strangely sober for a while, but the key is to build up a tolerance to revision gradually. Start in 10 minute bursts and work your way up. Sleep: While some students prefer to forgo their regular sleeping pat-

terns in favour of all nighters in the McClay, others can’t revise properly without a good night’s sleep - only you know what works best for you. Don’t feel pressured to do all nighters if it’s not for you, and whatever your revision pattern, get a decent sleep 24 hours before the exam. Coffee is your friend: Love it, milk it or sweeten it, coffee has been proven to aid revising. Whilst this can be associated with late night instant cups of coffee, also make time to meet up with friends for a coffee and take regular study breaks whilst refuelling. Paracetamol: A good shout to counter the side effects of the coffee (and possible frustration headaches). Positive surroundings: A bad

environment leads to bad studying - so make sure you find a spot that suits you. Buy a plant or rent a room at the library: just find your study temple. Past papers are key: They’re the closest you can get to cheating without actually cheating. They help you get a grip on timing and the style of questions. If in serious doubt, memorise the last few past papers and hope you lecturer is lazy. Exam season rolls around again. Photo from Flickr. Educate yourself in McClay warfare: Now open 24 hours for those who find they work best in the library (or just for when you're out of heating), it helps to know the rules of the McClay. In order to keep your spot, remember to mark your territory by placing a beach towel on your seat, or unpacking enough pen-

cils to make it a nuisance to move you. Love thy neighbour, share your space, or leave 20p in the coffee machine - being respectful benefits everyone. The art of cramming: If you get into a cramming situation don’t

panic, the key to cramming is timing. Work in small efficient bursts, with breaks for brain food. Revision is as much personal as it is a formula for success. Start early, study efficiently and test yourself, but most importantly make it work for you.

QUB Jobs: Where the Vacancies Find You The Gown looks at a student-created service which helps take the hassle out of finding work at university. Amy Slack Contributor

Finding a job can be tricky for anyone. It can be especially difficult whilst at university, when the student lifestyle throws up particular issues to consider. Hours, for instance: too many, and it would impact on studies; too few, and it won't make a difference to that rapidly depleting bank balance. Of course, that is if you can even find a vacancy in the first place. Making the task a little easier for students at Queen's is QUB Jobs. Set up in April 2012 by Paul Walsh, then a Geography student at Queen's, the social media service aims to be

a one-stop shop for finding studentfriendly jobs. It posts newly found vacancies almost every day, with particular emphasis on jobs that are based near university facilities and accommodation, and on part-time positions that can gel with academic workloads. Vacancies from numerous job websites are displayed, as well as photos of job adverts spotted in windows of local businesses. The group was set up after Walsh recognised that there was no preexisting service available specifically for student job adverts in Belfast. "A centralised current job interface is needed in any city, but is provided in very few”, he told The Gown. "I realised that I could provide one here

for this micro-community of people seeking often very similar things”. QUB Jobs is not the sole work of Walsh, however. It also receives a lot of submissions via email or private messaging - from students who have spotted a vacancy. Walsh says these tips are “absolutely vital” to the service. In addition, vacancies posted on Facebook are often commented upon by students who tag their friends to view the post, in case the job might be right for them. The University already focuses a lot of energy into careers services. In particular, it concentrates on providing assistance with graduate employability, alongside promot-

ing entrepreneurial pursuits with competitions such as QUB Apprentice. While these services are highly valued for preparing students for future jobs, for some, the need for money in the present can seem like a far greater concern.

Today, more than 3,000 Facebook friends and nearly 550 Twitter followers see QUB Jobs' regular updates on the latest local vacancies. But has it made a difference in helping students go on to find work? According to Walsh, it has:

For Walsh, "QUB Jobs is hopefully a solution to one small element" of the job-seeking process. What comes afterwards – from writing CVs and filling in application forms to being interviewed – can be tackled with help from the Student Guidance Centre. But, “small” though it may be, QUB Jobs deals with the first, stressful part of the process: finding suitable vacancies in the first place.

"I have never asked how many students have found jobs: that is a number which will never be known. But I do know that, to date, I have received over 200 'thank you' messages in some form or another”. For more information, search for: @QUBJobs www.facebook.com/qub.jobs

Avoid a Bummer Summer! Tips for Student Travel The sun is currently shining upon Botanic Gardens (however, knowing Northern Ireland, it won’t stay for long). It’s the time of year when exams are taking over and procrastination is kicking in - the perfect opportunity to book your summer holiday. Katie English Contributor Here are six tips to avoid breaking the bank this summer: Plan Ahead: Whilst there are last minute deals available, to suit you and your friends’ availability, it’s best to get organised and plan ahead. It often works out cheaper to avoid package deals - which usually turn out a disappointment. Choosing the Right Destina-

tion: Top destinations this year include Berlin, Amsterdam, Prague, Thailand, New York, Croatia, and numerous festivals throughout Europe and the UK. It is important to take into consideration your current budget and evaluate which trip is suitable for you. Inter-railing is great to consider if you wish to visit a few cities in Europe and possibly a festival. Use websites such as Lonely Planet and Trip Advisor to read up on each destination, to help the decision making process. Shop around for flights, using Sky

Scanner usually finds you the best possible price. Accommodation: Avoid hotels - hostels are much cheaper and also give you a chance to meet other travellers. If you are staying for a long period of time in one place, apartment rental is another relatively cheap option to consider. This however requires pre-planned bookings unlike hostels which take walk in bookings to suit traveller’s needs. Shop around, don’t take the first offer.

Sightseeing: Take advantage of the free walking tours, free museums and other free activities available at your chosen destination. These can be researched before you set out on your travels. Also enquire about student discount: your student cards are not just valid in Belfast. Food: If you do consider an allinclusive package deal, food is supplied - so do take advantage of this. Other travellers - utilise the kitchens provided in hostels

or apartments to cook your own meals. Visiting nearby markets will ensure that you still have a taste of the local culture. Eating out every night will break the bank, and is a mistake that most travellers make. If breakfast is included, get up and eat: European hostels often also provide bread rolls which you can then take for a packed lunch later that day. Enjoy your summer and make the most of it!


11 Opinions

The Gown

T U E S D AY 1 4 TH M AY 2 0 1 4

e FIACHRA O’ MAOLCRAOIBHE | How I Found NUS-USI’s 2014 Conference KAITY HALL | Does Religion Still Have a Part to Play in Politics? JANE DOE | “What’s in a Word? Feminism, Equality and Society”

The following articles are based on the personal beliefs of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Gown’s editorial team.

How I Found NUS-USI’s 2014 Conference A delegate to this year’s National Union of Students – Union of Students Ireland conference shares his account of the trip, and thoughts on the “student movement”. Fiachra O’ Maolcraoibhe News Editor @fiachra1992

This year I decided to attend NUSUSI’s national conference. I went out of a desire to know more about the organisation, and to find out what happens when you fill a room with students from the different further and higher education colleges around Northern Ireland. I arrived early with a friend and as we watched the rest of the delegations arrive, I couldn’t help but notice the excitement in the many faces that passed through the doors of the fancy four star Hilton Hotel in Templepatrick. I’ve always had my reservations about the way NUS and NUS-USI are run. I, like so many other students, am not fully aware of its many facets, its structures and general purpose - but I entered the conference floor with an open mind. The conference started like any other. The steering com-

mittee, which conducts the smooth running of the conference, introduced everyone to the running order, the guest speakers and NUS-USI President Rebecca Hall. Everyone had been given an inch-thick pack filled with details of motions, constitutional amendments, policy lapses, women’s motions and disabled motions (not to mention a timetable filled with a running order that resembled that of a spiritual retreat - with lunch and dinner highlighted in bold to set any hungry stomachs at ease). As delegates began discussing motions (of which there were a considerable amount) I began to wonder why people had come here. Was it because they really cared about the future of the student movement - or was it because they happened to be students in the know about student politics? I’m sure both are potential reasons, but many would deny the latter. Rather, delegates would argue that they’re continuing to struggle on behalf of

students – but how well do they really represent them? It was at this point I began to question the actual purpose of an organisation like NUS-USI (which claims to represent the best interests of 200,000 students across the province). Many people threw around the term “student movement” at the conference, like it meant something. What movement? We were very comfortably sitting in a hotel, swigging chilled bottled water in a room bigger than most students’ unions. Each delegate shared a room considerably larger than most students’ living rooms. Everything was paid for - with no expense spared. An outsider would be forgiven for thinking that this was a really important conference, out of which many policies would arise for the long term benefit of students (present and future). In actual fact, nothing of note really happened at this conference - I can only assume the same can be said

for conferences at a national level across the water. Yes, lots of motions were passed. But the truth is, the vast majority are unachievable in the time frame allotted. Not all was bleak and futile though. Some clever people recognise the evils that prevail in higher and further education: privatisation, cuts, the student loan book sell-off, unfair pay for lecturers, fees and the neo-liberal model of education as a whole. For this reason, there is hope (but only with a small ‘h’). No-one seems to want to campaign. People are getting angry – but not those who wield the power. An ever growing gulf is developing within the “student movement”. The term itself is becoming increasingly abstract. We’re seeing the emergence of a student body who either don’t care about - or don’t know - what NUS is. Individual students’ unions are struggling to cope with activism and how

that extends to their roles, against the backdrop of a Con-Dem government. It would appear that there is a hunger for radical change - but not if it affects those who will do anything to remain at the forefront of student politics. Of course, I left the conference a bit disheartened and more than a bit hung-over. But at least I’d eaten well for two days. It seems to me that NUS-USI is moving off into uncharted territory more so now than ever. From what I can gather, they are supposed to act in two different ways. Firstly: as an active movement which campaigns for students’ rights in housing, finance, liberation and accessibility. Secondly as lobbying group, which puts pressure on politicians to act on their behalf. I can’t help but feel that there are never any guarantees with the second - yet it seems to me this is where NUS-USI’s focus lies currently. So how do I perceive the current situation? There’s inactivity on the ground, so some can remain seated at the top.

Does Religion Still Have a Part to Play in Politics? Society may be increasingly secular – but is this shift being reflected in the composition of our Assembly? Kaity Hall offers her opinion. Kaity Hall Contributor The laws regarding the purchase of alcohol at Easter always spark debate in Northern Ireland, and did so again this year, for the five days they restricted this purchase. Five days in which a personal choice was made on behalf of the population as to what times they could and couldn't purchase alcohol - during a subjectively holy time of year. For those who are not religious, these laws made little sense. As it seems more people are railing against these laws than embracing them, it's clear that this

dispute isn't just about alcohol consumption being inhibited: it begs the bigger question of whether religion really has a place within politics. Northern Ireland, and by extension the rest of the UK and Republic of Ireland, are connected to the Church through tradition which has been handed down to us from one generation to the next; from a time when the Church had more power than the State. The steady divorce of Church and State throughout the generations simply signals modernity and a steady move toward a more liberal, open minded society. Living in a

society whose history is so influenced by Christianity, it is very easy to feel guilty about being a non-believer. (Indeed, David Cameron recently pronounced himself "evangelical", detailing how "people who advocate some sort of secular neutrality fail to grasp the consequences of that neutrality"). It’s insinuated that those have no investment in religion have something to be guilty about. Why is there this double standard - and why does Christianity still maintain a level of authority in a nation which is not only increasingly nonreligious, but also increasingly diverse

in terms of religion (with people of many faiths living in the UK and Ireland)? As it stands, just over a third of people in Britain believe religion has a positive role to play in society. According to the 2013 British Social Attitudes Survey, 48% of respondents stated they did not belong to a religion. One in twenty British people are Muslim, and there are almost a million British Hindus. Why would anyone want their country governed by a leader whose policies are influenced by his faith? Religious faith is something completely personal and it's fruitless to impose that on others.

A separation of Church and State does not undermine Christianity: it simply recognises society as diverse, and acknowledges that we shouldn’t have one religion dictate over other religions and beliefs. It promotes equality, as opposed to an esteemed religion and way of life over-ruling others. Yes, faith may give people a “moral code” as Cameron has said, but that doesn't immediately cast off everyone else as lacking morals. UK and Irish laws may be built upon the foundations of Christianity - but you do not need to have read the Bible to have a sense of what is right and what is wrong. ​

“What’s in a Word? Feminism, Equality, and Society” Is "feminism" still an adequate descriptor for the movement towards equality between men and women? One contributor shares her thoughts. jane Doe Contributor Words are odd things: a collection of sounds and shapes to which we assign meaning. Sometimes words lose their value. Most of the time, we can agree that words have little weight if not accompanied by their corresponding action, but this is widely accepted and so not a great problem in the grand scheme of things. The problem arises when you have a word, one word with

one meaning, but society has a completely different definition of it. What do you do then? Don’t deny it, you’ve come across two definitions of the word ‘feminism’ in your life: 1) Feminism: The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes (Oxford Dictionary). 2) Feminism: The act of men-hating women moaning (Randomers).

One of them is right (although admittedly the most basic explanation) and one of them is the one you hear drunkenly in a bar. Both usually result in a rant. Now, I’m going to admit something here: I usually use the second definition, but hear me out. I know it’s not the right definition but look around. Look outside the group of active pro-equality students we – luckily - have at Queen’s (they know the lingo, the definitions are second nature to them). Go a bit further:

the guy in the restaurant, the girl at the concert, in reality, even a bunch of students in the University. It’s the definition they think is right. It’s the definition society has crammed down our throats. When I hear the word feminism, I don’t think of equal rights, I don’t think of my value as a woman being appreciated. I think of anger, I think of a battle of the sexes, of no one being happy but everyone mildly annoyed. The thing is I do want equality. A lot of people think this means

I should call myself a feminist but I refuse to. Words are powerful - it’s silly but they are, and a word that excludes people, even though it’s because those people haven’t gone to the trouble of looking up the correct definition, doesn’t sit well with me. Let’s just boycott it. The journey to equality is hard enough without separation being caused by an eight letter word. Equality isn’t a war: let’s stop fighting over words.


T U E S D A Y 1 3 T H M A Y 2 0 1 4

The Gown

Sports

12

Racism and its Impact on American Sport Today Recent news stories centering on racism in US sports have proven cause for concern. Matthew Law examines a legacy of inequality. Matthew Law Features Editor @Nantan_Cochise

TMZ recently released an audio clip of a man (identified as L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling) arguing with a woman identified as V. Stiviano over her bringing black men to Clippers games. In the video, Sterling states that she should not be posting pictures of herself with black people on her Instagram page. Ex-NBA players such as Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan, and other figures including Snoop Dogg have spoken out against the comments. President Barack Obama even weighed in on the argument and stated the following: "The United States continues to wrestle with legacy of race and slavery and segregation. That’s still there”. He added, “We’ve made enormous strides, but you’re going to continue to see this percolate up … We have to continue denouncing it and teach our children differently”. mcm_belfast_the_gown.pdf 1 12/05/2014

The past twelve months also saw another battle over alleged racism in sport with the re-emergence of calls to have the NFL team the Washington Redskins change their name and/or emblem. Their logo is a caricature of a red-skinned Native American man with a feather in his hair. There are a number of other US teams with names such as the "Indians", the "Braves", and the "Chiefs". There is no sign that these organisations will ever change, with the three main stumbling blocks being that such titles are perceived as the “status quo”; these teams have devoted fans; and that opposition groups are small in numbers. One of the most shocking elements of the “Redskins” controversy is that many people do not see why it is offensive. This truly shows how the Native American people are still heavily discriminated against. On this, NFL columnist James Arcellana states, "Much like pop culture has desensitized Americans to violence, it has also desensitized Americans 17:57:04

to the blatant disrespect that still takes place on playing fields today through the use of these mascots”. It is incredibly difficult to understand how someone like Sterling could make these kinds of (alleged) remarks. This is a man who is worth $1.9 billion, and who makes most of his money through ownership of a basketball team (who interestingly used to be called the "Braves") that has only one white player on its roster. To try and understand it, it helps to look at just one word POTUS Obama used in his statement: legacy. There persists a legacy from the time of slavery, a legacy of inequality towards both black Americans and Native Americans. Both recent stories show that racism is still a serious issue in American sport – although one consistently swept under the rug after media attention towards controversies begins to fade.

Donald Sterling. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

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The Gown Independent Student Newspaper at Queen's Issue Eight (2013/14)

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The Gown Independent Student Newspaper at Queen's Issue Eight (2013/14)

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