Rename Radcliffe
Image: Warwick Media Library

Warwick SU launches campaign to rename Radcliffe House due to colonial connections

Warwick Students’ Union (SU) has launched a campaign to rename Radcliffe House due to Cyril Radcliffe’s role in the partition of India.

Radcliffe House is a hotel and conferences complex on the University campus named after Cyril Radcliffe, who was the first chancellor of Warwick University from 1965 until 1977. 

Before being involved with the University, Cyril Radcliffe chaired the boundary committees that drew the borders between Pakistan, India and modern-day Bangladesh. The partition led to 14 million people being displaced and as many as two million people losing their life.

The campaign said: “The University of Warwick has a duty to confront its colonial past and acknowledge the violent colonial legacies of figures that are celebrated on campus.”

The campaign is currently urging students to show support by adding “#RenameRadcliffe” to their social media profiles. The campaign also includes a further reading list and Instagram accounts to follow.

Radcliffe House was specifically mentioned in a recent statement released by seven University of Warwick cultural societies together with the former Education and Welfare & Campaigns Officers, which represented over 400 Black Warwick students. 

The statement named Radcliffe House as an example of the the University “glorifying racist individuals”.

The reason we want the building to be renamed is because for many students it’s a constant reminder of the violence and bloodshed that followed partition

– Nazifa Zaman & Rachel Annor-Agyei

The University also issued their own statement on Black Lives Matter, but it did not include a mention of Radcliffe House.

Speaking to The Boar, SU Ethnic Minorities Officers Nazifa Zaman and Rachel Annor-Agyei said: “The reason we want the building to be renamed is because for many students it’s a constant reminder of the violence and bloodshed that followed partition.

“The University likes to make meaningless statements but are unwilling to listen to their Black and Brown students who have raised this issue a number of times already.”

The Officers suggested that an alternative name should reflect the “great history of anti-racist organising at Warwick” rather than the “violent and bloody history of the British Empire”.

The University has been contacted for comment.

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