An Oxford college has been accused of “cancelling” St George’s Day in a row over an Eid formal dinner being held in place of the usual banquet in honour of England’s patron saint on April 23rd. The Telegraph has the story.
Magdalen College held an annual banquet to commemorate England’s legendary patron saint before the pandemic, with dons, fellows and students enjoying a traditional feast among its spires.
But this year, the college will host a formal dinner for Eid, the Islamic festival marking the end of Ramadan, on St George’s Day and no other formal meals or dinners to mark England’s patron saint will take place.
The move has sparked an unholy row, with dons hitting out at Magdalen’s President Dinah Rose KC [pictured] for the “barking mad” decision to miss the occasion.
In an email, sent to hundreds of lecturers and students and seen by the Telegraph, Prof Nick Stargardt, the college’s Vice-President, invited guests to “celebrate Eid with a festive dinner in the Hall” adding that “the meal will follow Muslim customs: the meat dish will be halal and no alcohol will be served”.
It is taking place on April 23rd despite Eid falling two days earlier on April 21st, on which the college is hosting a separate vegetarian dinner, alongside other midweek dinners.
While the college claims it does not have a St George’s Day tradition, the Telegraph has seen records which show the college hosted dinners dedicated solely to St George’s Day in each of the four years prior to the pandemic, from 2016 to 2019.
In 2018, for example, the former college vice-president invited lecturers to “celebrate St George’s Day” with “a formal hall and high table at 7.30pm with a special English menu” accompanied by “Grace and English Music by the Clerks followed by an oration”.
One don at Magdalen College, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Telegraph: “The cancelling of St George’s Day is yet another example of the deep antipathy that the leaders of so many of Britain’s academic institutions seem to feel towards the country that built and maintains them.”
Another Oxford don described the move as “barking mad”, pointing out that the president Ms Ross has a history of Left-wing comments on her Twitter account, such as attacking the Government’s criticism of human rights migration lawyers and saying she was “proud” to fly the trans flag over the college.