Professor Johnston forced to apologise

The Derry born Vice-Chancellor of Queen's University, Professor Patrick Johnston, has had to apologise after he made comments disregarding students studying history earlier this week.

Thursday, 2nd June 2016, 1:52 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd June 2016, 2:57 pm

He had initially said that ‘society doesn’t need a 21-year-old that’s a sixth century historian’ as part of an interview talking about cuts made to the university’s budget.

However, after a huge backlash Mr Johnston met with members of his school of history and eventually issued an apology on Twitter.

In it he said, “I was happy to have the opportunity to provide clarification on comments made within the Belfast Telegraph article of May 30, 2016 which related to the study of history,” the statement read.

“In the interview I wanted to stress that a university education is more than the study of any one subject and that the aim is to produce graduates who have the potential to become leaders within our society.

“History graduates at Queen’s are thinkers who have the capacity to help drive society forward.

“I sincerely apologise if there was any misunderstanding in the interview and would place on record that I have regard for students, colleagues and alumni from history.”

One local mother, who’s daughter graduated from Queen’s University last year with a History degree said, “I was so disappointed to hear Paddy Johnston’s comments on the futility of acquiring a history degree in this day and age. At my daughter’s graduation last year, he spoke with such passion about how brilliant all the Arts Graduates were and how the world was their oyster. He told them that an Arts Degree from Queens was a passport to a wonderful future. I wonder what he’s going to say to this year’s graduates.”