News reaches subtext that the University of Central Lancashire is formally consulting key stakeholders on a proposal to amend its name – specifically, to drop the word ‘Central’ so it would become the University of Lancashire.
Well, we can’t see anyone objecting to that, can we? Oh, hang on…
UCLan has a long history, dating back to 1828. It was known variously as the Institution for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, the Harris Institute, Preston Polytechnic and, between 1984 and 1992, Lancashire Polytechnic. The letter to stakeholders notes that, ‘the institution was known as the Lancashire Polytechnic for many years and we still attract the great majority of our students from the county and surrounding areas.’ The university would like to implement the change during 2018, as part of its 190th birthday celebrations.
Meanwhile, in the Lancaster Red corner, Her Majesty granted our charter in July 1964, agreeing that, ‘We should constitute and found a University within Our City and County Palatine and Duchy of Lancaster for the advancement and diffusion of learning and knowledge.’ Quite so! Hence the two Lancashire Roses on our coat of arms. (Before alert readers point out that UClan also has two roses, ours were first and with Royal sanction).
UCLan’s consultation letter doesn’t address the possibility that students and collaborators might confuse it with us, but ‘the University of Lancashire’ is nothing if not a bold statement of intent. When it was Lancashire Polytechnic, the word ‘Polytechnic’ made things pretty clear, but is the Privy Council really going to agree to a situation where the University of Lancaster is operating 30 minutes away from another university that shares over 80% of the letters in its name? One wonders what Ms Ranvir Singh, Lancaster alumna and honorary Doctor, and current UCLan Chancellor, makes of all this.
The deadline for consultation responses is 5th February. We await the inevitable diplomatic manoeuvrings with interest.