Bain tackles sectarian dispute

January 2, 1998

The new vice chancellor of Queen's University, Belfast, George Bain, is facing a sectarian dispute. The university senate has overturned a vote by undergraduates asking for Irish language signs in the student union building to be restored.

The signs were taken down last September in an attempt to reduce the "chill factor" that was said to be deterring Protestant/Unionist students. A new report has also revealed the degree of the "chill": it showed that only one-third of Protestant students eat at the student union cafe or take part in union elections compared with more than a half of Catholics.

On a fairly low turnout, however, the referendum showed 1,800 students demanding the reinstatement of the Irish language signs, with 600 votes against.

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