Leeds Metropolitan students battle to stop their university from changing its name


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The Independent Online

Students at Leeds Metropolitan University are campaigning to stop their university from changing its name.

The change, which is expected to cost £250,000, would mean that the institution would be known as Leeds Beckett University from September.

A Facebook group, titled “Save Leeds Meet Uni – Don’t change the name”, has attracted more than 4,000 likes since its creation but now campaigners are pushing for a referendum later this month.

For a poll to take place, campaigners need to collect 750 signatures within a limited timeframe, possibly as little as three days.

Third-year sports coaching student Joshua Malpass-Clark, who is the leading the campaign for the referendum, says that he wants to “reflect the views of the student majority who don’t approve of the name change".

“My whole purpose in the campaign is to speak on behalf of the students that feel their views are being ignored not speak my own views,” he told the Independent.

“They feel like their opinion on the whole was ignored and that the university didn't care or even respect their views.”

The university’s Board of Governors took the decision last July to change the institution’s name following a period of consultation.

It was approved by the Privy Council, which has the power to change university names, last November.

In a statement, the university’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Susan Price said: “Leeds Metropolitan University is one of the most popular universities in the UK and we feel it is important to have a name which reflects our ambition and distinctive position in a competitive global market.

“Our current name is not unique; there are after all, four other ‘Metropolitan’ universities and this can cause confusion, particularly, but not only in the minds of our international applicants, who mistakenly believe us to be part of a ‘chain’ or larger branded group, rather than the distinctive and popular university that we are.”

She added: “The name Leeds Beckett University was selected because Beckett Park is where a number of our predecessor colleges were established, the first being the City of Leeds Training College which welcomed its first students in 1913 and it is still home to our Headingley Campus, which until 2003 was named Beckett Park Campus.”