£47,000 Queen Mary University of London name switch delayed after staff opposition


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The Independent Online

Plans to change the Queen Mary University of London abbreviation from QMUL to QML have been delayed, subject to consultation, following significant staff opposition.

Queen Mary says it has allocated a sum of £47,000 for the switch, but would not provide a more detailed cost breakdown. QML merchandise, such as hoodies, is already being sold on campus shops.

The total transition is expected to be made by December 2014, following some cosmetic changes before the New Year begins in September.

In an email sent to staff last week, Principal Simon Gaskell explained that the change had “generated a good deal of comment” amongst staff.

The consultation period is due to end on 1 April, after which the results will be distributed college-wide.

Gaskell’s email read: “I, and the other members of QMSE, have no reason to doubt the validity of this decision. However, some colleagues have argued that our history of a confusing series of acronyms should encourage us to continue with the most commonly used, QMUL, particularly as it does (at last) correspond to our legal name.”

According to slides from an internal Powerpoint presentation, the switch has come about to “[help] position us beside” the likes of “London competitors” KCL, LSE, and UCL, who all use three-lettered abbreviations. Changing to ‘QML’ will also generate “recognition or recall in the wider world”.

But the plans are believed to be unpopular among students, who have not been invited to contribute their views to this “largely collegial discussion”.

Among members of staff to have publicly criticised the switch, include the head of Drama Michael McKinnie, who tweeted in favour of retaining the ‘QMUL’ abbreviation.

A Queen Mary spokesperson said “the proposal to adopt QML as the consistent abbreviated form of our full name (Queen Mary University of London) is based on advice from both external stakeholders and our directorate of marketing and communications”.

“Having received notice of some concerns surrounding this change, and wanting to check the views of the wider staff community, we are now inviting staff to contribute their thoughts on the proposal.”