‘We will be forever King’s College London’: Petition creator speaks out

The rebranding of King’s College London to King’s London has come as a shock to the majority of current and past students at King’s. This is clear from the 9,000 signatures […]


The rebranding of King’s College London to King’s London has come as a shock to the majority of current and past students at King’s.

This is clear from the 9,000 signatures our petition has garnered in the past 24 hours. As it stands, almost two centuries of tradition hangs in the balance as those in charge seek to change the identity and branding of our internationally respected institution. Despite comments from the KCL Principal, Ed Byrne, regarding the rebranding, students remain outraged about this unnecessary proposal.

I found out about this rebranding scheme whilst procrastinating on Monday morning. In an obscure post buried deep on the KCLSU website, renaming our beloved King’s College was mentioned. An intense WhatsApp discussion with my housemates ensued, and we subsequently established ourselves as the “HQ for #SaveTheC”.

A few hours later, a friend suggested we create a petition on change.org. By midnight, we had almost 3,000 signatures: the word about King’s London was out. The fact that there was such a significant response in a very short period of time clearly shows the love and enthusiasm that myself and others have for King’s College. It seems strange that until this point, many of us had not heard about the notion of King’s London, particularly as it has apparently been in the works since 2012.

In an email sent out to King’s College London students and staff on Tuesday afternoon, Ed Byrne addresses a number of our concerns, clarifying that the university will remain King’s College London on legal documents, but will instead be promoted as King’s London.

However, our question is this – why bother to change the name at all? Over 185 years ago, King’s College London was established as one of two founding colleges within the University of London. Despite being a university in its own right, we retain our position, along with UCL, as one of the original colleges, lending a great deal of history and tradition to its name. Promoting King’s College London as King’s London fails to capitalise on the heritage that is associated with its current title.

One argument given by those spearheading the rebrand suggests there have been a significant number of international students who have voiced concerns regarding the inclusion of ‘college’ in our name. According to the ‘Rebrand FAQ‘, “internationally, there was further misunderstanding as ‘College’ is not a widely understood term in many countries”. A quick browse through the comments on our petition offers significant evidence to refute such a claim.

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Not only does this suggested rebrand jeopardise the centuries of history we have, but it also comes at a huge cost. An estimation of £300,000 has been given by the team in charge of rebranding: money which, in the eyes of many, could be spent elsewhere on improving student (and staff!) life at university. It seems pointless to spend such an extortionate amount of money changing the promotional name of King’s College London. King’s London has no history, no reputation, and apparently it already exists.

We are King George IV’s college and a great many of us would like to maintain our legal AND promotional name to reflect this heritage. We feel we have not been properly consulted about such a move – the focus groups and invitations for feedback that have apparently led to this rebranding have come news to many of us. Students at KCL are proud of the fact that they attend King’s College London, ranked 16th in the world: they did not pay to attend King’s London. That’s why me and my fellow KCL students urge you to join the campaign, sign our petition and lend your support to our fantastic institution.

We will be forever King’s College London.