Victoria University’s name to remain unchanged after Education Minister intervenes
Education Minister Chris Hipkins has vetoed the University of Victoria’s plan to change its name.
In a move that caused an outcry from Wellingtonians and former students, the university’s council made an application to change the institution’s name to the University of Wellington on September 27.
“I have considered the university’s recommendation and supporting information along with advice received from officials,” Hipkins said today.
The council’s consultation showed staff were divided on the name change – and there was significant opposition from alumni and students.
That opposition was also reflected in surveys conducted by the Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association and the VUW Law Students’ Society and, to a lesser extent, the Tertiary Education Union.
“I also received more than 450 pieces of correspondence on the name change question from students, alumni and others mostly opposed to the name change,” Hipkins said.
“Many of these referred to a change.org petition with more than 10,000 signatories listed as opposing the name change.”
Victoria University vice-chancellor professor Grant Guilford led the charge for a change to University of Wellington to eliminate confusion for potential overseas students. He was also concerned about other universities taking credit for work done at the Wellington campus.
“The achievements of our staff and students, and for that matter our city, can be attributed to other institutions and countries, dimming our international standing,” Guildford said.
The Education Act requires the minister’s approval for a university to change its legal name.