Rhodes University has decided against being re-named.
A meeting of the University Council considered the matter on 30 November, with 15 of the 24 members voting no in a secret ballot, according to a press statement issued this week by the institution.
“The matter of the name of the University has been taken very seriously by Council,” read a 6 November statement from the Registrar’s Office. ”It set in motion processes that would facilitate its speedy resolution. Given the University’s precarious financial position and the need for the University to prioritise transformation and be responsive to the challenges facing our society while maintaining its enviable academic credentials, the University cannot embark on a process of changing its name that will divert the limited resources it has.
“This has been a difficult decision to make and, regardless of the results of the ballot, there are no winners from this process. While democratic decision-making is, and must always be, respected as a cornerstone upon which we build the University, Council accepts that further actions must and will be taken to ensure that appropriate recognition is given to the hurt generated by the legacy of Cecil John Rhodes.”
The name-change debate was one of issues identified in the July Transformation Summit at Rhodes. Stakeholders resolved then that the issue should be resolved within six months. Rhodes’ name is particularly controversial because it derives from John Cecil Rhodes, an English imperial agent whose work was critical in securing much of Southern Africa for the British Crown.
- Read the full statement on the Rhodes University website.