DEBATE surrounding a possible new name for Charles Sturt University (CSU) was not only expected but wanted, deputy vice chancellor Jenny Roberts says.
The university announced recently that as part of its upcoming 30th anniversary celebrations it was not only rebranding, but thinking about a name change.
Since then, however, many students, alumni, staff and community members have coiced their objection to a new name, while a change.org.petition has attracted more than 4800 signatures.
Ms Roberts said she and other senior CSU staff welcomed the debate as it showed how passionate people were about the university.
“We knew that it would get a lot of feedback because we knew people loved this university,” she said.
“It’s very emotive and we understand that, but look at the bigger picture, the strategy.”
The bigger picture is that the institution was working on refreshing its brand and working to ensure it was just as relevant into the future for students, staff and members of the public as it is now.
“It’s important to evolve our brand to meet the needs of the market and ensure we can continue sustainable growth in our student numbers,” a CSU spokeswoman said.
“We want to continue to grow and continue to refresh ourselves.”
Ms Roberts urged the community not to be fearful of change within the university.
She said senior staff at CSU were listening to the feedback on the proposed name change as well as reading comments posted to social media and watching how many people sign the petition.
“I’m starting to get a few people contact me telling me what they love about CSU,” Ms Roberts said.
Currently, the preferred option for the new name is Sturt University, while former NRL player and mental health advocate Joe Williams suggested Wiradyuri University after the country on which most campuses are located.
Ms Roberts said the university’s name was often “diluted” by the use of CSU rather than its full name of Charles Sturt University and that the proposed name change would address this.
She said senior staff did not believe a change of name would negatively impact the university’s reputation as an educational provider.
In order to listen to more feedback from the community on the proposed name change, Ms Roberts said face-to-face community sessions would soon be announced in Bathurst, Dubbo and Orange.
“We are genuinely taking feedback and genuinely open to that feedback,” she said.
The university celebrates its 30th anniversary in July, with any name change to be announced by the end of February.
What you said about the name change
In a poll conducted by Australian Community Media on the potential name change, of the 581 voters who took part 540 (92.94 per cent) said the name should not be changed.
Thirty-one voters (5.34 per cent) said it should be changed and 10 voters (1.72 per cent) were not sure.
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