Growing pressure on university from both sides as Jenni Murray Lecture Theatre naming row continues

HUU passes motion against the name, however petition passes 500 votes in favour of keeping it


The University of Hull is facing continuing and growing pressure from all sides, over the decision to name a lecture theatre after Radio 4 presenter Jenni Murray, who some have claimed has a history of "transphobic" remarks.

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On Monday the Hull University Union Council (the decision-making body of elected students) passed the motion mandating the Union to oppose renaming the lecture theatre after Jenni Murray. The Council further agreed the university has shown "abhorrent disregard for all trans people" by pressing forward with the naming decision.

The motion was proposed by Jess Clunan – the student who both sparked the debate and who is chair of the Union Council – and further drives a wedge between the university and the Union after it received the backing of all four vice-presidents and the President of HUU, Osaro Otobo.

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Just one day later, however, a change.org petition surpassed 500 signatures calling on the Vice-Chancellor to stick with the lecture theatre's name.

The petition – started one week ago by Lynn Massey-Davis – argues it is right that Murray is honoured by the university, due to her successful career and feminist credentials.

It further argues the university shouldn't listen to those protesting the decision as they are an "unrepresentative cohort of politically active trans activists", whose behaviour is "reminiscent of the masculine behaviours of 100 years ago which denied women a voice".

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On Monday morning, the President of HUU attended a meeting with the Vice-Chancellor to discuss the naming of the lecture theatre.

Speaking to The Hull Tab, Phoebe explained the meeting was "not great", with the university refusing to change the name. In light of HUU passing the motion, however, the VC has asked for another meeting with her and Osaro.

In a comment to the Tab Hull, the University has restated its commitment to review the naming decision and are listening to the large amount of feedback it has received to inform their decision.