The new Students’ Union pub will not be named for a former Warwick student who was killed during violent protests in London in 1974, despite a campaign that gained significant support amongst students.
Kevin Gately, a Warwick maths student, died age 21 during protests against the National Front, a far-right anti-immigration political party.
The cause of his death was never conclusively determined; theories include the possibility that he received a blow from a police truncheon or was injured by the charging crowds. His was the first death during a protest in the UK for 55 years, according to contemporary BBC reports, and led to an outcry from other students.
Part of the current rebuilding of the Warwick Students’ Union is the opportunity for students to suggest possible names for its new pub.
Sami Wannell, a Warwick maths student, started a Facebook campaign to have the new pub named after Gately, in recognition of what he calls “a really important part of our union’s history.”
“I think that it’s disappointing that the new Grad won’t be named after him,” said Wannell.
Despite the setback for Wannell’s campaign, he says that the Union does agree that a memorial to Gately should be given a prominent place in the new building. “I hope that the Union will make good on their promise of making a Kevin Gately memorial.”
The Facebook group attracted nearly 150 members. Wannell created it because, “in the theme of the past namings of our Union rooms…and the recent referenda on anti-fascism, my friend suggested it would be a good idea to get something named after Kevin Gately. I personally have always thought that the stuff stuck in the link corridor was a bit out the way.”
The current union features a small tribute to Gately in the corridor between SUHQ and the current Grad.
The Union put three names to a popular vote on its website and in the current Grad, and the name ‘The Dirty Duck’ was settled upon.