UK: Bristol University axe National Anthem from graduation ceremonies

UK: Bristol University axe National Anthem from graduation ceremonies

Bristol University has axed the National Anthem from its graduation ceremonies after a handful of students claimed it was 'offensive'.


The anthem has not been played since last year's ceremony with the university saying it regularly updates its graduation ceremonies.

God Save The King will now only be played when a member of the Royal Family is present.

Some students at the 147-year-old university have suggested the National Anthem was culled because it is 'irrelevant', 'old-fashioned' or might even be 'offensive to some'.

It comes just weeks after the university vowed to remove slave trader Edward Colston's emblem from its logo, after his statue was toppled during a Black Lives Matter protest in the city in June 2020.

Layla Daynes, 21, told The Sun: 'The monarchy isn't really relevant to my generation, so it wouldn't be missed.'

Free Speech Union director Toby Young asked: 'Why are Britain's most prestigious universities openly contemptuous of the country's history and heritage?'

A University of Bristol spokesperson said: “The University routinely updates aspects of its Graduation ceremonies, which included the 2020 decision that the National Anthem would be played when representatives of the Royal Family, such as the Lord-Lieutenant, are in attendance."

In late November the university announced it would distance itself further from slave trader Edward Colston following a public consultation centered on whether seven buildings named after families - including Wills and Frys - with links to slavery should be renamed.

Professor Evelyn Welch, vice-chancellor and president of the university, announced the decision to strip Colston's emblem in an open letter, in which she also apologised to those who had experienced racism at the institution.

The personal emblem of the 17th century merchant - a dolphin - was incorporated into the design of the university's modern logo in 2003 from the coat of arms awarded at the institution's foundation in 1909.

A university spokesman said the 4,000 students, staff and members of local communities who responded to the survey felt it was 'crucial to acknowledge and explain the past' and the historical significance of such figures.