16/12/2004

Queen's students told of ‘responsibility to shape society’

Queen's students have a particular responsibility to shape and inform the society in which they live, the University's Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Students and Learning, Professor Ken Bell, has said.

Professor Bell was speaking at a special presentation ceremony for more than 500 part-time and Foundation Studies students at Queen's on Wednesday night.

He told the successful students: "You will provide the skills on which ultimately our society will rely for economic growth which will permit the raising of living standards, the reduction of inequalities, the improvements in the social services and the enrichment of civic life to which we all aspire.

"Yet above all, the future will need your input as people who are educated in the fullest sense of the word, tolerant, open-minded, impartial and capable of recognising that individual worth rests not on accidents of birth, race, or geography, but on personal human qualities."

Professor Bell’s comments follow last month’s trouble in the Holyland’s area surrounding Queen’s University after students protested against a BBC documentary over anti-social behaviour in the area.

Local resident’s claimed their homes were attacked following the BBC NI Spotlight investigation which showed scenes of drunken students urinating in doorways and playing hurley in the early hours of the morning during recent weeks.

Students claimed they were being portrayed in the wrong light and so took to the streets in protest however matters got out of hand when police had to be called following reports that bottles had been broken and abuse was being hurled at residents.

(MB)

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