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August 13, 2018 | by  | in News | [ssba]

The Naming Game

Students opposed to the Victoria name change made their voices heard outside Vice Chancellor Grant Guilford’s office last Tuesday. The “Stick with Vic” Protest was held on 7 August. About 30 students, alumni, and staff members gathered in hopes of publicly addressing Guilford with their concerns.
One of the attendees of the protest, Catherine Reynolds, said she was troubled that students had such a short amount of time to express their concerns.
“I feel like it’s been a very one -sided moved on Grant and the senior leadership team’s part. I feel like this [the protest] is the one of only ways to have our voices heard, because we haven’t had opportunities to do that on the way.”
Guilford rebuked the claim that students didn’t have enough time to voice their thoughts, telling Salient at the forum, “We were left confronting that 99.5% of people weren’t concerned or somehow didn’t get engaged… So what does it mean when 45,000 people don’t engage? … Well it certainly means people were not anxious enough to get off their chuff”.
A petition against the change has gathered over 5,000 signatures. In response to the backlash, Victoria has held several public forums. Three forums were held last week, including a draft forum for students, held at Rutherford house last Monday.
Guilford said the groups who did engage gave “huge” support in favour of the name change. According to Guildford these groups includes the council, the marae and the local iwi, the trustees, the librarians, and the stakeholders (i.e. relations throughout Wellington just as public servant groups and other unis).
Another Vic student, Jordan Milburn, said that he attended the protest because he thinks the University’s name Victoria is worth protecting.
“It disrespects the name but also defunds buildings, defunds the arts department. Why would a University waste our money on this, which is just really a marketing campaign. I mean it might make some people feel better.”
Felix Griffin arranged the event as he believed that students did not previously have enough of a forum to express their views on the name change.
He said that the University should abandon their plans on the proposition until stakeholders had an adequate opportunity to assert their views. He called on Guildford to make note that “Victoria is not his property to give away”.
The Filipino, Cambodian, and Taiwanese Student Associations have come out against the name change.

“While we submit that change is a vital part of the human experience and this name simplification in its core is not necessarily a bad thing, we disagree with the rationale behind such change,” said Buklod, the Filipino Student Association. The Cambodian Student Association said, “we believe name is the identity of a place or a person. The current name has a long history and has produced many well-known scholars and professionals around the globe”.
Yan Ma, a former international student who now works at Victoria, told Salient that the University had discounted the views of international graduates like herself when they proposed the change. “Victoria is a bit of a home away from home. So I have a lot of feelings for the old name,” said Ma. However, she said she could “understand” the reason for the proposal.
Following community opposition to the name change, the University has re-opened the call for submissions about the proposal. Feedback now closes on 27 August, and the final decision date has been extended from 27 August to 24 September. Feedback can be sent to “”.


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