Monday, April 28, 2008

Point of Clarification

The Gown would like to clarify a point within their front page story which has been labelled as ambiguous.

The quote from Pat McCarthy on sex offenders in the University area was included to highlight the problems in that area as well as to illustrate the presence of 'anti-social' community members more generally. It was not intended to label the man in question in the story as a sex offender.

We apologise for any meaning which some may feel can be implied and hope this clarifies the point for all readers.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Spotlight on Sex Offenders in University Area

The rape of an 18 year old girl in Botanic Gardens early this morning is the latest in a series of sexual assaults in the South Belfast area in recent times.

It is believed the girl was dragged into bushes by a man while walking on her own towards the Stranmillis exit of the Park. She had left a group of friends to go home, after they had been drinking in another area of the gardens.

In a BBC report, local councillor Alasdair McDonnell admitted "this area around Queen's, the Holyland and South Belfast generally is seen as an easy area for this type of attack".

Fellow SDLP councillor for the area, Pat McCarthy, confirmed in The Gown last week that, "The majority of sex offenders in Northern Ireland live in South Belfast, and the majority of them live in and around the University area. We know that for a fact".

At present four wardens patrol the area (only two per shift) known as The Holylands, which stretches from Agincourt Avenue to University Street, from Sunday to Thursday.

Botanic Gardens, a popular spot for students and the local community especially in May and June, is now receiving press and police attention for all the wrong reasons.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Gown exposes Toilet Scandal

Secret University e-mails have exposed the reason for the closure of the Main library toilets over two years ago – University fears of ‘cottaging’, a term used for gay sex.

BBC Online questioned the University under the Freedom of Information Act as a direct result of a Gown story last February. It was subsequently revealed that the activity had been “going on for a number of years” in an e-mail between staff members in 2006.

Third year students and above may remember an all-student e-mail sent at the beginning of the 2006-7 academic year which referred to the toilets as a location for gay rendez-vous. The e-mail also contained harsh racist slurs. Spot checks and CCTV camera installation were considered as possible resolutions to the problem but in the end the toilets were closed.

Officially, Queen's has remained reluctant to publicly acknowledge the matter. It states that the closure was due to a number of reasons, including the “over-supply of toilets within the library building”.

Check out the BBC story here:

New Issue Out Now

The Gown's final issue of this academic year is available on campus now.

A man was found dead at a house on University Street two weeks ago. We talk exclusively to two students intimidated from Jerusalem Street as a result of his verbal abuse and physical damage to property. Four other households left the street between October 2007 and last month.

We delve into the lives of Romanian immigrants in South Belfast - How much do we really know about the reality behind the frequent request to, "Buy a rose?".

In this 40th anniversary year of the first civil rights protests of 1968, The Gown features former Queen's students, Bernadette McAliskey and Austin Currie as well as activists currently at the University.

Are you offended? Check out the results of our survey of a number of Queen's students and decide for yourself. Has the world gone PC mad?

Read about all of this plus the usual Student Shouts, Toilet Talk, The Hood and much more!