British University Renames Student Halls to Appease Politically Correct Mobs

On June 9, 2020, the University of Liverpool capitulated to radical leftist pressure by renaming one of its halls of residence.

A group of leftist students urged the university to remove the name of Prime Minister William Gladstone’s because of “his views on slavery.”

An open letter was sent to Vice Chancellor Professor Dame Janet Beer where the students demanded that Gladstone Hall be renamed because of William Gladstone’s family ties to slavery.

This decision took place in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The controversial nature of Floyd’s death has sparked large protests and riots not only in America but all over the world. British cities such as Bristol, London, and Manchester have witnessed similar disturbances organized by Black Lives Matter.

The violent takedown of the statue of the slave trader and philanthropist Edward Colston in Bristol kicked off demands from students in Liverpool to take Gladstone’s name off one of the residence halls.

William Ewart Gladstone, who was born in Liverpool, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for 12 years “across four terms between 1868 and 1894, and is viewed as one of Britain’s most prominent former statesmen” according to the Liverpool Echo.

In a statement, the University of Liverpool declared that it wanted to send a resolute message to its Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students and staff. It also plans on working with them to “agree an appropriate alternative name for the hall.”

A University spokesperson stated: “We share in the shame that our city feels because its prosperity was significantly based upon a slave economy.”

“The University of Liverpool is a member of Universities Studying Slavery which includes an acknowledgement of and pledge to explore our own legacies.”

“Our Centre for the Study of International Slavery works closely with the City’s International Slavery Museum and undertakes important research into modern slavery.”

“Gladstone Hall is part of the Greenbank site and was demolished and recently rebuilt.”

“We have an important opportunity to send a clear message about the commitments we have made to our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff and student community and the University will work with the Guild of Students and with staff and student groups to agree an appropriate alternative name for the hall.”

The organization Stop Hate UK features a list of useful and telephone numbers for people who face hate crime, including crime online and several types of “hate crime” directed at groups and individuals.

Gladstone built his reputation for supporting free trade and home rule for Ireland.

Dissident Right commentator Peter Brimelow noted the following:

Gladstone was an anti-imperialist classical liberal who supported Irish Home Rule. UK abolished slave trade in 1807, before he was born, and slavery throughout the Empire in 1833, when he was 24. But it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters.

The letter that the students wrote demanded the university to stop “normalizing people like William Gladstone by naming our campus after them.”

It also emphasized that “William Gladstone’s views on slavery followed in continuity with the views of his father.”

Gladstone’s father, John Gladstone, was a prominent slaveholder in the West Indies. He owned more than 2,500 slaves when slavery was abolished.

The letter also took Gladstone to task for representing the interests of West Indian planters over “the freedom of slaves that he and his father financially relied upon”, and demanded the hall’s name to be changed as a “show of solidarity in the rejection of Black oppression.”

The political correctness movement has been exported abroad.

This is no casual battle. Conservatives should be leading the charge against this radical iconoclasm.

By the logic the Left employs to justify toppling statues, soon the monuments of the Founding Generation will be in their crosshairs.

From there, open-ended assaults on gun ownership and free speech will be in store. This is one battle that the Right cannot afford to ignore.