University set to combat “Patriarchitecture” by renaming buildings

Gina Mete
News Editor

The University of Glasgow has agreed to name more of its buildings after women and academics from other marginalised groups, following lobbying by the Students’ Representative Council (SRC).

The “Patriarchitecture” campaign saw the SRC urge the University’s senior management, the Equality and Diversity Strategy Committee (EDSC)  and the Estates Committee to adopt an “inclusive naming policy for future use with the specific aim of ensuring that women and other minorities are appropriately recognised for their contributions in the way that white men have been in the past.”

Currently, the Queen Margaret Union is the only building on campus named after a woman, while the Fraser Building is named for both William Kerr Fraser and his wife Marion Fraser. The Gilmorehill Campus Redevelopment on the Western Infirmary site will provide opportunities for new buildings to be dedicated to alumni from a range of demographics, while some existing buildings may be renamed.

University buildings have traditionally been named in recognition of prominent academics, former Principals and Chancellors, and benefactors. Due to historical social factors and the fact that the University was an all-male institution until 1894, these figures have overwhelmingly been white and male.

Liam King, SRC Vice-President (Student Support) commented: “Women have been able to graduate from Scottish universities for over 120 years now. Despite the massive contribution female alumni have made to the University, and society, they often fail to get the recognition they deserve. This is about changing that – about marking their achievements and the achievements of other alumni who are from minority groups.”

He added: “The Principal and other members of senior management have been incredibly receptive of Patriarchitecture.”

The SRC compiled a list of 22 notable female alumnae who they suggested could be recognised in buildings, including astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Frances Melville, a suffragist and campaigner for women’s rights, and on King’s blog on the SRC website he notes the achievements of two of the University’s first black graduates, James McCune Smith and Andrew Watson.