Representatives from JCR Presidents Committee, MCR Presidents Committee and SU Reps Committee have written to Stuart Corbridge, Vice Chancellor and Robert Gillespie, Chair of University Council asking them to reconsider the method of naming the 17th college. You can read more about the issue here and sign the petition here. The letter can be found below:
Dear Professor Stuart Corbridge and Mr Robert Gillespie,
The current 16 colleges at Durham University are named after inspirational people that students can aspire to and most importantly be proud of. Take Saint Cuthbert’s for example, the patron saint of Northern England whose body is buried at our very own Cathedral here in Durham. Saint Cuthbert, Saint Aidan, Saint Hild, Saint Chad, Saint John, Saint Mary - all patron saints of this country. These virtuous people set precedent for the kind of communities we want our colleges to be.
The Prince Bishops of Durham, Thomas Hatfield and William Van Mildert, the performer Peter Ustinov, the Prime Minister Charles Grey, the mathematician Sir Edward Collingwood, the venerable Bede, the physician Dr John Snow, the feminist social reformer Josephine Butler, the historian George Trevelyan and the railway engineer George Stephenson. What an incredible array of people to be able to look up to.
Naming the new Durham College after a financial donor would be an insult to the 16 individuals our current colleges are named after. Durham University creates inquisitive, motivated and innovative alumni who are constantly contributing to society in a plethora of ways. Our unique colligate quality only strengthens the University’s ability to shape such individuals. We create academics, teachers, activists, lawyers and pioneers in society. Alumni who may follow in similar footsteps to the 16 honourable individuals we have recognised as monumental to our collegiate foundation.
We are writing you this letter on International Woman’s Day.
12 of the current 16 colleges are named after men. The University is driving to promote gender equality and lists ‘inclusive’ as one of its key values. We think it appropriate that upon this day we ask that we not only avoid naming this college after somebody based on the content of their wallet, but that we also use this opportunity to acknowledge the inspirational women around us. What a fantastic opportunity to show how inclusive this University could be.
Sir Peter Ustinov said himself, ‘it is our responsibility, not ourselves, that we should take seriously’. Durham University has a responsibility to create communities that are driven by innovative individuals, not individuals who would buy their way into stamping their name on a University as prestigious and respected as Durham. Durham University must take its responsibility as a leading University, seriously.
We strongly hope you reconsider the process by which the 17th college name will be decided and circulate this letter to the other members of Council for their consideration.
Catriona May - St Cuthbert’s Society JCR President
Megan Croll - Students' Union President
Jess Rackham - St John’s College SJCR President
Luke Hollander - St Aidan’s College JCR President
Elliot Mather - College of St Hilde & St Bede SRC President
Sophie Hurst - Van Mildert College JCR President
James Bowmer - Josephine Butler College JCR President
David Slade - Grey College JCR President
Sahiti Shah - Collingwood College JCR President
Lydia Edwards - Trevelyan College JCR President
Jamie Graham - Ustinov College GCR President
Luke Wagner - St Mary's College JCR President
Will Lewington - John Snow College JCR President
Hilaire Wong - St Chad’s College Senior Woman
Harry Dow - Hatfield College Senior Man
Joseph Simon - Stephenson College JCR President
Pippa Prevost-Jones - University College Senior Student
Rosa Tallack - Students' Union Welfare & Liberation Officer
Charlie Walker - Students' Union Opportunities Officer
Joseph Hardaker - Stephenson College MCR President
Joe Troughton - Trevelyan College MCR President
James Black - University College MCR President
Amy Jacobsen - St Cuthbert's Society Postgraduate and Mature Students Rep
Andrew Smith - Hatfield College MCR President
Lily Hulatt - Grey College MCR President
Joey Nelson - St Chad's College MCR President
Imii Mace - Van Mildert College MCR President
George Peat - St Chad's College SU Rep
Meg Haskins - Welfare and Liberation Officer-elect, Nightline director
George Walker - Van Mildert College SU Rep, SU President-elect
David Evans - Josephine Butler SU Rep, Postgraduate Academic Officer-elect
Alex Lindqvist Jones - St Cuthbert's Society SU Rep
Rory Flynn - Hatfield College SU Rep
George Stanbury - Grey College SU Rep
George Cowley - St John's College SU Rep
Ben Rich - University College SU Rep
Alex Price - John Snow SU Rep
Tom Henderson - College of St Hild & St Bede SU Rep
Alex Hampton - Ustinov College SU Rep
Clara Gallay - St Aidan's College SU Rep