Tyrone or not Tyrone: Katie Hopkins called out by Oxford student for snobbery

The Apprentice's Katie Hopkins believes people called Tyrone aren't destined for greatness. Not so, claims mixed-race Oxford undergraduate Tyrone Steele

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The Independent Online

When Katie Hopkins, the outspoken former Apprentice contestant, told Oxford student newspaper Cherwell that she 'wouldn't want a Tyrone in her tutor group', she probably didn't anticipate debating Oxford student Tyrone Steele two weeks later.

"Not many Tyrones I’ve had the misfortune to meet have been terribly nice," she claimed, adding that Oxford tutors should prefer a 'Cecil' instead.

However there are no Cecils at Oxford, as Steele noted in a strongly-worded open letter to Hopkins. 

Steele, of mixed White and Black Caribbean background, is a second year theology student at Pembroke College. He does not come from a traditional Oxford background, with neither of his parents having gone to university. 

In the letter he criticised Hopkins as 'attention seeking' and 'snobbish'. He accused Hopkins, who last month espoused similar views about young people's names on This Morning, of 'damag[ing] the self esteem of many working class applicants'. 

He has been involved with the college's access scheme, 'Pem-Brooke', which runs summer schools for potential university applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds.

In 2012 nine out of the 23 students enrolled on the programme applied to Oxford, with five students gaining offers - which is 'pretty amazing, given many of them might not have even considered going to university, let alone Oxford'.

"Many of them would also probably have had non-traditional names which I'm sure Katie wouldn't have liked," he added.

"Although obviously no one agrees with her position, it's important to challenge it so that those kids who perhaps are in a similar situation, with little self confidence, don't become fooled by her, and think that's what university dons believe."

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A day with Katie Hopkins: Separating the 'superbitch' from her soundbites