Susan Price, the Leeds Met vice-chancellor, has announced “a formal consultation with stakeholders” on the different options, stating that the university has “outgrown our ‘Metropolitan’ name”.
Following the consultation, a recommended name will be put forward later this year to the Privy Council, which must approve the change.
Although Professor Price did not refer to any wider problems around the name, the “metropolitan” title has become somewhat tarnished in recent years, with London Metropolitan University in particular having gone through a series of problems. The title is often associated with widening participation.
The Yorkshire Evening Post reported that the proposed name change has generated a “backlash”, with more than 2,500 people joining a Facebook protest group – Save Leeds Met Uni, Don’t Change the Name – less than 24 hours after the move was announced.
Leeds Met student Rob Lazenby, a member of the group, said: “Basically the general feeling is that the three names they have come up with are poor.”
He argued that the university’s identity now seemed confused after it had previously pursued and then abandoned plans to change its name to Leeds Carnegie University.
The name Leeds Metropolitan University was adopted in 1992, when the former Leeds Polytechnic became a university.
Professor Price said: “The last three years in particular have seen a re-positioning of our university to become a university of choice.
“We have built on already substantial strengths across our subject areas, developed our international profile, seen steady improvement in our National Student Survey results and are in a strong financial position.
“In short the university we see today is remarkably different from that which existed in 1992. We have outgrown our ‘Metropolitan’ name and are now looking towards the future for our institution, and our students and graduates.”
The “Beckett” option refers to the university’s campus in Beckett Park, the “Headingley” option to the university’s location in the wider suburb of that name, and the “Ridings” option to the three ancient subdivisions of Yorkshire.