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Express & Star readers hit back at academics over 'racist' University of Wolverhampton billboard

By Alex Ross | Wolverhampton | Education | Published:

A university billboard branded racist and colonialist by academics has been defended by Express & Star readers, with almost four out of five saying it is not offensive.

The University of Wolverhampton poster appeared online

The University of Wolverhampton has taken down the poster after a storm on social media.

It promoted a public health course at the university and showed a white woman facing a group of black youngsters with the slogan 'If you want to explore new worlds, start here'.

Academics such as Nicole Andrews, health and social care lecturer at Newman University in Birmingham, said it showed signs of 'colonialism, patriotism, racism and gender issues'.

The criticism resulted in the university taking the poster down from the five sites in Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Coventry where it was located.

But readers of the Express & Star have hit back at the academics, describing them as 'snowflakes' and telling them to 'get off their high horse'.

A poll run on ExpressandStar.com asked people if the poster was offensive. Almost 80 per cent say 'no'.

A reader called Treaks hit back at comments from Dr Lisa Ann Richey, from Denmark's Roskilde University. She said 'voluntourism is not something we should claim is educational'.

The reader said: "Who do these academics think they are? They're all from other universities and it seems a little bah humbugish to me.

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"How many thousands of people have been helped by the 'voluntourists' over the years building schools, helping to get clean water to villages etc? How many of these 'voluntourists' have had their life changed for the better and gone on to do great things helping other by exploring new worlds"?

"How people can see this as offensive is beyond me, they need to get off their high horse and take a look at themselves. They may have intellect but they don't have common sense or compassion."

Olly the Cat said: "People who take pleasure in being offended will find offence in anything. This is another manifestation of the snowflake generation."

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Alepad said: "I am sick to death of these snowflakes who are offended by everything and see racism in everything.

"The trouble is organisations pander to them instead of telling them to get a life and if they don't like it then they can lump it."

The poster promoted BSc (Hons) Public Health course and the university's clearing process.

Also to criticise it was Dr Diane Levine, from the University of Leicester' and University of Wolverhampton blogger The Plashing Vole.

The university responded, saying it had never intended to cause offence.

Head of marketing Raman Sarpal said: "Following careful consideration the decision was taken to withdraw this particular advert, which is part of wider campaign, and we are in the process of removing the image."

On the Express & Star's Facebook group there was also anger over the academics' criticism of the poster.

Mark Fox said: "Grow up and stop being offended by everything."

Martyn Spencer said: "I must be really thick. I still can't work out what the problem is supposed to be."

Ian Craig said: "I'm struggling to understand why this is offensive.

"I just think it is people looking to be offended again. This is becoming a national pastime."

David Richards poked fun at the academics' reasoning.

He said: "Maybe they should have had a thin, black woman facing a crowd of white men. Then all would be ok, or may not."

Alex Ross

By Alex Ross
Investigations Editor - @alexross_star

Investigations Editor at the Express & Star. Everyone has a story - tell me yours.

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