Bristol SU officers want Wills Memorial Building renamed

The Facebook response has not been positive

Following the launch of an online petition to rename the Wills Memorial Building, Bristol’s elected student officers have today announced their support for the campaign on the SU’s official Facebook page.

Accompanied by a picture of the building, the online post read as follows: “For a lot of Bristol students, Wills Memorial Building is the iconic building on top of Park Street.”

“Fewer people know that the building was financed by profits from slavery. We think it’s time to give the Wills Memorial Building a modern name that fits University of Bristol’s image of inclusivity and diversity. Do you agree? Sign the petition on: http://bit.ly/2nRMCi3

The announcement appeared on Facebook this morning

A number of Bristol students questioned who the “we” mentioned in the post referred to. However, in a follow up email the SU press office confirmed that “The decision was made by our officer team. As elected officers they have the mandate to make decisions on what campaigns to support, without decisions having to go through student council.”

“Democratically, if students would like to mandate them to have a particular view then students can do so via passing policy at student council. Students can also hold them to account on decisions that they have made at student council.”

The news does not appear to have gone down well on Facebook, with near unanimous condemnation of the SU officers’ decision. Most of the criticism centred on claims that the union was “whitewashing” the city’s historic links with slavery and that education was a much more effective method of promoting inclusivity than “censorship”.

The top rated comment by UBU second year historian Elliott Gowers criticised the SU as: “Run by a bunch of whiney babies who have no regard for history… such organisations are the reason universities are looked down upon with such disregard and as havens for PC lefties and their search for safe spaces.”

It remains to be whether this decision will be challenged at the next student council meeting, due to be held on Monday 5th June.

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