Leeds Met name change no confidence vote

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lecturers have voted against the £250,000 name change plan for Leeds Metropolitan University.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) met on Friday to vote on the no confidence motion against the plan to rebrand it to Leeds Beckett University.

UCU regional branch secretary Geoff Brown said of the branch’s 650 members, 435 turned out, with 92 per cent of those supporting the vote. It follows a similar student referendum, in which 1,265 of 1,554 people voted against the change.

At the heart of the argument is the proposed name ‘Beckett’, which university leaders claim is based on a geographical location - Beckett’s Park Campus - whereas opponents say derives from Ernest Beckett, a historical playboy and philanderer.

Mr Brown said: “There’s a serious gap between management and staff and students on this - it strikes me this is an example where they were not consulted properly.”

Jim Malpass-Clark, Leeds Student Union president, said the consultation took place last summer when most students and staff were away.

Jenny Share, registrar and secretary at Leeds Metropolitan University, said because they had around 2,800 staff, and 27,000 students, both votes were proportionally small, adding the consultation was extensive.

In a statement, she said: “Whilst we note the results of the recent vote by UCU and fully respect their right to share views around our change of name, it is important to remember last year we conducted and concluded a thorough and extensive consultation process with both staff and students and as such, this vote carries no legal status. It represents the views of just over 10 per cent of staff.”

Permission to change the name was granted by the Privy Council in November last year.

Tony Burdin, chief executive of Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society

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