Written by Emily Herbert
A student led petition for the re-naming of the De Montfort Hall has started after the man the building is named after was responsible for exiling Jews from Leicester.
Simon de Montfort was noted for his ani-Semitic beliefs and distrust of the Jewish people, where his hatred led the entire Jewish community in Leicester to be expelled with hundreds massacred.
Leicester’s Jewish Society are pressuring the city council not to host any events at the Hall, with their president Shayna Wise-Till stating:
“[Simon de Montfort] does not reflect the values of the university, the hall should be renamed after someone who is truly a citizen of change.”
The soldier and statesman Simon de Montfort was born in France in 1208 who according to Aubrey Newman, a professor at the University of Leicester, was almost certainly involved in the massacre of several hundred Jews.
Students are campaigning over the issue, arguing that Leicester students “should not have to graduate in a hall named after an anti-Semite.”
A spokesperson for the petition says: “as the Union has committed to decolonising the curriculum and making campus safer and more inclusive, this is an essential step.”
“The hall should be renamed after someone who as truly a citizen of change.”
In 2001, there was a campaign to rename the hall, but the argument made against it was that de Montfort was just a man of his time and that Jewish hating was the norm.
The Jewish society states: “if this was the case, then this hall should not be named after a man of this time.”
Students and staff have been asked to come up with names that could be proposed to the council.
Emily Herbert is a first-year student of Journalism at the University of Leicester, with further aspirations of pursuing a career in TV. You can find her on Instagram @emilykateherbert