Campaign launched to change the name of De Montfort University

By Adam Dutton

A campaign has been launched by the Executive Officer Team to change the name of De Montfort University after it was found Simon de Montfort held anti-Semitic views.

The Executive Officer Team is part of the DMU Students’ Union and this campaign is part of their yearly joint objective scheme, which aims to campaign for a lasting change to the University.

The Executive Officer Team posted a statement, which said: “As your Executive Officer team at De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU), we always strive to improve your student experience and hold the university to account when we believe improvements need to be made. 

“Every year, as a team we decide and agree on one joint objective to make long lasting change following conversations with students. This year we have chosen a project that we truly believe will leave a legacy that we can be proud of.

“De Montfort University (DMU) is named after Simon de Montfort who although he is known to be the Father of what we would call modern day democracy, was also known for his anti-Semitic views and hatred towards the Jewish community.

“De Montfort is not a name we should be promoting. This is not a name we say with pride. It is not reflective of our core values and beliefs.”

Simon de Montfort is often regarded as the father of democracy and he became the Earl of Leicester in April 1239.

However, it is his anti-Semitic views which make the use of his name challenging. He expelled the small Jewish population from Leicester in 1231.

His followers also massacred a number of Jews in Derby (1262) and in Lincoln (1265).

The campaign uses these factors for the main reasons for change.

The support for change is there from a student stance, too.

Zoaib Kitabi, 22 and a DMU student, said: “The idea of changing the name is good, it shows that they are thinking.

“They’re trying to be current and accepting and I think a lot of people can appreciate that. I’m interested to see what they change the name to.”

The proposed name change, if successful, is set to be introduced in December 2023.

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