Student leaders call for VC to reconsider method of naming college 17

Thursday 08-03-2018 - 21:24
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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.

Kind Regards,

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

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