Protest over uni name change

Related coverage: Uni merger issues to be discussed

THE Ballarat community has opposed a recommended name change for the University of Ballarat, proposed to reflect its planned merger with Monash University Gippsland, according to a recent news report.

The Courier, Ballarat’s largest newspaper, reported this week the City of Ballarat had “made it clear that it would prefer the university to maintain its current identity”.

The report also referred to a letter the paper received from one of UB’s founders which said a new name “could see the institution lose its connection to the community”.

It said a proposal put forward to change the U’s name, if the merger with Monash University’s Gippsland campus went through, had failed to win support from the community or readers recently polled by The Courier.

It said a former UB college council chair, Dr William Pryor, claimed the name change was a “poor decision”.

Dr Pryor told The Courier in a letter “the real risk here is that the citizens of Ballarat will lose interest”.

City of Ballarat Mayor John Burt was also reported as saying “obviously we don’t want to see the name Ballarat disappear”.

The names State University and Federal University have been put forward as the two options for a new university name.

Dr Pryor was reported as saying “quite a few people” had expressed concern to him about a name change and, if Federation University were the eventual choice, the initials FU would see the university “become the butt of jokes”.

Australian National University marketing expert Andrew Hughes also told The Courier it was important “to somehow keep Ballarat in the university’s new name”.

Vice Chancellor Professor David Battersby has previously conceded to The Express he was aware of a level of resistance in Ballarat to a name change.

Consultation is set to continue until the end of the month over the new name, with one of the two proposals expected to be adopted by UB’s Council in July.