On 18 November 2020, De Montfort Student's Union (DSU) announced our campaign to change the name of De Montfort University (DMU). On this page we will regularly add updates and answer your questions as discussions take place.
To read our full announcement from the DSU Executive Officer team, click here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Click the questions below to be taken straight to the answer.
De Montfort University (DMU) is named after Simon de Montfort, who was known for his anti-Semitic views and hatred towards the Jewish community. This hatred led to the expulsion of the entire Jewish community from Leicester and the massacre of hundreds of Jews across the country. We do not believe that De Montfort is a name that is reflective of our core values as an institution and organisation that embraces equality, diversity and inclusion for all.
You can find out more about who Simon de Montfort was here.
The decision to start the campaign to change the name of the university was a joint decision by the Executive Officer team of 2020/21 at De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU) following conversations with a range of key stakeholders. The Executive Officer team at DSU have been elected in by students to represent the student body at DMU. For years now students, staff and members of the community have spoken about this and we felt this is no longer an issue that can be ignored.
This year DMU acknowledged they needed to turn the mirror on themselves and look at how they can do better in order to be an inclusive institution for everyone. To ensure they are truly an anti-racist institution we believe they cannot be named after or memorialise someone who held vehement anti-Semitic views.
Alumni of DMU, students currently working towards a degree and future applicants will all be consulted with before any changes are made. We do not want this change to negatively impact any student of DMU – past, present or future. How this change will impact all alumni and students will be taken into great consideration. We will keep you all updated and be as transparent as possible throughout our discussions.
The decision of a new name will be greatly discussed throughout the coming years. We don’t have a name in mind right now as we are in the early stages of the discussion but when the time comes, we will ensure students’ voices are taken into consideration.
At this moment in time we do not know exactly how a new name would be decided as we are at the very beginning of the discussions. However, we can assure you that we will campaign vigorously for students to be part of the decision-making process.
DSU is asking the university to pledge to start the work that will ultimately lead to changing the name by December 2023.
The change of name and criticism of Simon de Montfort has been spoken about for years by members of the community, students and staff at DMU. In 1992, Leicester Polytechnic became De Montfort University. When this decision was made there was a lot of debate and criticism for naming the university after Simon de Montfort. This has continued over the years but we know not everyone is aware of the history of Simon de Montfort.
In 1992 the decision was made to change the name of Leicester Polytechnic to De Montfort University.
An external agency was appointed to research a variety of names. After running discussion groups with target audiences, interviews and consultations, the preferred name by the majority of stakeholders was De Montfort University. It was agreed that it was distinctive and memorable while also not being connected to one location - at the time we had campuses across the country.
When the name change was being discussed and researched in 1992, there were objections to being named after Simon de Montfort due to his history, but the decision was made to go with De Montfort University. Since then, discussions of the appropriateness of the name have continued. As DMU has developed as an organisation, their values and beliefs as an institution have changed. Although this was accepted in 1992, we are now in a time where we are all looking at how we can improve to be the best institution possible by educating ourselves and making positive change.
Times have changed drastically since 1992. In order for us to understand if this name is still acceptable in 2020, where equality and diversity is valued throughout, we need to begin the discussion again.
DSU will be continuing to have discussions with all key stakeholders and running consultation meetings in January 2021. There will be a range of opportunities to get involved and share opinions at consultation meetings which will be open to all students and staff at DMU.
We will be hosting consultation sessions throughout 2021 which will be open to all students. We will be as open and transparent as possible throughout the campaign and will continue to answer your questions. We want to make this process as collaborative as possible and consider everyone’s thoughts and feedback.
Please keep an eye on the De Montfort Students’ Union social media - @demontfortsu and website demontfortsu.com where we will be announcing further details of consultation meetings and initiatives that you can get involved with.
DSU will always put student welfare as our number one priority. We will continue to work with the university and campaign to ensure you are supported during the Covid-19 pandemic. Our Executive Officers will be continuing to work on a range of campaigns on student welfare, academic experience, representation and student opportunities throughout the year.
We have just launched an initiative called ‘Are You Okay?’ which we are running in collaboration with DMU. The project gives you the space to tell us how you feel, what we can do to help and what is and isn’t working. We will then take this feedback and work to make changes to improve your university experience alongside DMU. Let us know how you’re feeling and what we can do to help here.
Although the debate of changing the name of DMU has been discussed for years, no actions have been taken. We want to reiterate that this isn’t something new and this has been spoken about since the renaming of the university in 1992.
This year, the DSU Executive Officer team of 2020/21, all agreed now was the right time to start the conversations to change for the better. We are not trying to erase history or ignore history but in order for DMU as an institution to be truly a place where equality and diversity is celebrated and prioritised throughout, we cannot memorialise Simon de Montfort.
We’re in a time where we are all looking at ourselves and our environment to see how we can do better. As we all educate ourselves, we are making changes for the better. DSU are working to do the same. We acknowledge Simon de Montfort is part of history but that doesn’t mean we should be accepting of his beliefs, or we should associate ourselves with him. Especially as we are working towards being an organisation and institution that is truly anti-racist and embraces inclusion, equality and diversity.
DSU are here to make sure this is not a virtue signalling act and we will be working to ensure the university actively begins dismantling any signs of antisemitism within the institution. DMU has already acknowledged they need to turn the mirrors on themselves and acknowledge their actions (past, present and future) and do better. We believe this includes considering changing the name of De Montfort University to align with their new core values.
Currently the campaign is focused on our university, students and how we can make it a welcoming place for all. We are not asking for the removal of the de Montfort name from anywhere else, this is not our decision to make.
De Montfort Students’ Union is a separate organisation, independent from De Montfort University. We understand that De Montfort University has worked hard to build their reputation, however, this is a reputation built around the name of someone who we believe no longer represents the university’s core values and the institution they aspire to be.
De Montfort Students’ Union are not trying to ignore or change history, but simply want DMU to have a reputation of being a truly inclusive institution that celebrates equality and diversity for all. DMU cannot be the institution they are working towards, by being named after someone who had such strong antisemitic views.
At the moment?we’re in the initial conversations of making the change and the university’s reputation will be considered throughout.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss the change further, please email our Executive Officer team at firstname.lastname@example.org