A Bristol student has created a petition to NOT change the name of the Wills Memorial Building

The debate continues

A petition with over 500 signatures to rename the Wills Memorial Building has triggered the creation of a counter petition which aims to keep the name the same.

The Wills family’s connections to the slave trade have led to efforts from students to give it a “new modern name that fits the University of Bristol’s image of inclusivity and diversity.”

Although the Bristol SU officers pledged their support to the campaign to rename one of the most recognisable symbols of the university, many on social media condemned the petition.

The new petition that aims to counter any efforts to remove the Wills family’s mark on the university can be found here.

It reads:

“We, the undersigned, do NOT support the movement to change the name of Wills Memorial Building and be complicit in erasing history.

We feel that we need to make our opposition clear so that a few students that have not thought clearly are shown to not be representative of the view of the few calling for a name change. We also petition that the Students Union withdraws its support of the renaming as it is not supported by the students they are meant to represent.

The movement to rename Wills Memorial is based on the links between the Wills family with slavery. They claim that renaming Wills memorial will somehow cleanse the sins of the past. This is not the case. By deleting the Wills family from the universities identity it only serves to erase the past. By keeping the name we can shine a light on the horrors of the past and ensure that they are not repeated.

Thus we wish to nullify the previous petition.”

The counter campaign was started by student John Goacher who told us:

“I was just fed up of only one side of the argument being shown, especially with national media taking an interest we need to show that not all the students at Bristol are trying to change the name. As noone had seemed to of created one I decided to set it up.”