Magee has courses that are not offered on other university campuses yet Protestants are under-represented there

From a Freedom of Information request, I have obtained these figures for Magee Campus of Ulster University in Londonderry (Protestants/ Roman Catholics in 2021):

Friday, 3rd December 2021, 12:26 am
Updated Friday, 3rd December 2021, 12:33 am
Magee's poor record of attracting Protestant students is not surprising - there are few Protestants living on the West Bank of the Foyle

Undergraduate/ Postgraduate

Full time/Part time/FT/ PT

Protestant 21.3%; 17.0%; 9.7%; 20.7%

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Catholic 64.3%; 59.4%; 38.7%; 51.1%

Other/won’t say 14.4%; 23.7%; 51.7%; 28.3%

Magee has had a consistently poor record of attracting Protestant students in recent decades. This is not surprising. There are few Protestants living on the West Bank of the Foyle.

My own research, based on the records of the Derry Catholic Registration Association and the NI Census, indicate that the Protestant population on the West Bank has fallen by at least 10,000 since the 1960s. Ethnic cleansing and terrorism took its toll. That side of the river is today the focus of dissident republican activity.

What makes this poor record particularly problematical is when courses are launched at Magee which are not available on other campuses.

In October, Magee announced that the first degree-level apprenticeship in Manufacturing and Engineering had just started.

In August, Magee opened a postgraduate Medical School.

Earlier UU had announced that it was moving undergraduate healthcare degrees from Coleraine to Magee in 2022.

Any fair-minded person would have to admit that if the figures were reversed on a UU campus, with Catholics very badly under-represented, there would have been an uproar.

And yet those engaged in the equality industry seem to have been remarkably quiet. I wonder if we have introduced an Animal Farm approach to equality?

In George Orwell’s satirical novel, the pigs gain control of the farm. Eventually they come up with the slogan “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”. Regrettably, it seems that large sections of the Protestant business and professional classes are reluctant to complain when inequalities damage their co-religionists. Would it therefore be unsurprising if pragmatic people employed in the equality industry felt that “people like us” will not voice objections when Protestants are disadvantaged and it is safe to proceed?

We may be introducing a system where university courses are handed out as prizes to please noisy politicians. Will it not continue until such decisions are seen as controversial and people speak up about them?

• Dr Kingsley is a retired computing academic

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