UWI to remove name of ‘racist’ former British governor on St Augustine hall of residence

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UWI’s Milner Hall

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — Nearly a century after being named in honour of a former British governor, Milner Hall, a co-ed hall of residence at the St Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) is to be renamed.

In a statement, the UWI said that the decision to re-name the hall comes after months of internal discussion, some of it divisive and at times emotionally charged.

The UWI Finance and General Purposes Committee (F&GPC), comprising all stakeholders, from governments to graduates, unanimously accepted the recommendation from the university’s Senior Executive Management on October 30 and the name change will be done in accordance with the recommendations of the report by Pro Vice-Chancellor, Alan Cobley.

Cobley, a professor of South African History had been asked by UWI Vice-Chancellor, Sir Hilary Beckles to investigate the life and times of Lord Alfred Milner and to make recommendations with respect to Milner’s fitness to be celebrated as an icon within the 70-year-old regional institution.

Milner was a British Colonial Governor in South Africa at the turn of the 20th century.

UWI said that the Cobley Report sets out, among other things Lord Milner’s political identity as a self-proclaimed “British race supremacist”; his role as a formulator of British racial theory in which he described Africans as “savages” and the part he played as a founder of the criminal system of racial apartheid which was institutionalised in South Africa in 1948.

The UWI also noted the principal part he played as an architect of brutal Indian indentured servitude in the colony; his role as a proponent of military colonialism in Africa and Asia as the God given right of the English; and his function as an aggressive imperialist who is known for his part in the crimes against humanity committed in Africa.

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