Students uneasy at proposed name for Leeds Met

A STUDENT union leader has warned that its members feel the proposed new name for a Yorkshire university is uninspiring and that the reason for the change has not been properly explained.

Leeds Met is changing its name

Leeds Metropolitan University has applied to change its name to Leeds Beckett University after consulting with staff and students earlier this year.

A decision on whether to grant the name change will now be taken by the Privy Council.

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The university’s student union has, however, voiced concerns about the move and the impact it will have on those graduating as it changes identity.

It comes following the launch of a petition and a group on the social networking site Facebook opposing the name change which have attracted the support of thousands of people.

These were both set up after Leeds Met announced it was considering three options: Leeds Beckett, Leeds Headingley or Leeds Ridings University.

Last month it was announced that Leeds Met’s governors had decided on Leeds Beckett.

Millie Cooper, the newly elected student union president, told the Yorkshire Post there were concerns about the name and the timing of the consultation which was carried out as students were preparing to sit end of year exams.

She said: “Since March, the union leadership’s position has been that the university needed to work far harder to communicate why the change was and is required.

“To date, we still feel there is a lot of work to be done. The dominant opinion of those members currently expressing a view is that none of the proposed names were inspiring, and even if the proposal to change the name was justified, a more inspiring name would be required. It is important to reiterate that this is the current view of our members.”

In a statement released by the union she also voiced concerns about what the change might mean for graduates. It said: “There remain a number of unanswered questions, some valid that students are constantly raising, primarily around the issue of which name will be on degree certificates from September 2014, how these will be regarded by employers and what impact will the change in identity have on those courses where the Leeds Met brand stands as an exemplar of quality.

“At all stages of the process, the representatives of the student body urged for greater communication and a more timely discussion to avoid this unnecessary worry. I hope the university can address these matters swiftly and assure those of our members who are troubled by the proposed change.”

The university has declined to comment on the student union statement.

When the name change was first announced in May this year Leeds Met’s vice chancellor, Professor Susan Price, said the institution had outgrown its metropolitan name.

At the time she said: “Our university has seen much progress since 1992 when Leeds Polytechnic, as it was then, was granted university status and the name Leeds Metropolitan University adopted. The last three years in particular have seen a re-positioning of our university to become a university of choice.

“We have built on already substantial strengths across our subject areas, developed our international profile, seen steady improvement in our National Student Survey results and are in a strong financial position.

“In short the university we see today is remarkably different from that which existed in 1992.

“We have outgrown our “Metropolitan” name and are now looking towards the future.”

The proposals sparked an angry response from some students, and the Facebook group Save Leeds Met Uni – Don’t Change the Name was set up, with more than 2,500 people joining less than 24 hours after the move was first publicised.