Students campaign to ‘#RenameRadcliffe’ to confront Warwick’s colonial ‘legacy’
The campaign seeks to rename Radcliffe Conference Centre
Warwick Anti-Racism Society launched a campaign on 14th August to rename the Radcliffe Conference Centre. The centre is named after Cyril Radcliffe, the first Chancellor of the University of Warwick, and the man responsible for drawing the borders in the partition of British India in 1947.
The campaign, “#RenameRadcliffe”, has been shared on multiple social media platforms, and supported by the Students’ Union, who has also shared the campaign across their social media accounts. Many students are promoting the campaign with the hashtag and adding a frame featuring the hashtag to their social media profile pictures.
The campaign states that “the new borders that were imposed led to the deaths and displacement of up to 16 million people.
“The University of Warwick has a duty to confront its colonial past and present.
“Renaming the centre is one small way in which the university can show that they understand their past and acknowledge the violent colonial legacies of figures that are celebrated on campus.”
Warwick Anti-Racism Society chose to launch the campaign on Pakistani Independence Day, 73 years on from the partition of British India.
The campaign has garnered a mix of responses, with many turning to Twitter and Facebook anonymous confession page WarwickFessions to voice their opinions.
I will never forget the story of my grandmother who fought for her life running away from machetes on a train, from now-Pakistan Punjab to now-India Punjab.
A huge mix of emotions on #Partition1947, as others will agree.
And time to #RenameRadcliffe.
— Jaya Pathak (@jayapathak_) August 15, 2020
Some argue that renaming the building achieves little, and that the University and Students’ Union need to focus on other issues, while others argue in favour of the campaign to rename the building.
President of Warwick SU, Luke Mepham, replied to another WarwickFessions post arguing that the SU was neglecting other issues, saying: “Just because you’re not hearing so much about all the other work being done, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. I can assure you we’re working very hard on all of the things you’ve mentioned, just these happen to be more behind the scenes.”
The Radcliffe Conference Centre, situated between the Cryfield residences and Warwick Business School, is used to hold events and meetings, featuring hotel-styled bedrooms, conference rooms and a restaurant.
Warwick Anti-Racism Society, Warwick Students’ Union and University of Warwick have been approached for comment.