Rededicate 'Old Joe' to Joe Lycett

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The University of Birmingham's Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clocktower is an iconic Birmingham landmark, special to both the city and the University. However, recent events have proven that Joseph Chamberlain, despite being an important figure in the University's past, is not the right person to have such an important clocktower dedicated to him.

Joseph Chamberlain promoted the advancement of the British Empire, and therefore the slavery rampant within the Empire. He was a well-known Imperialist and helped co-ordinate the Boer War, as well as promoting the use of concentration camps.

Since Edward Colston's statue was pulled down in Bristol, calls for change have been heard over the county. The University of Bristol has been renaming halls that were previously named after Colston, and the statue of Cecil Rhodes has been marked to be taken down by Oriel College, University of Oxford. 

So, what can the University of Birmingham do to acknowledge the past of Joseph Chamberlain, whilst still maintaining the clocktower ('Old Joe') in its rightful place as Birmingham landmark?

This is simple. We rename the clocktower in honour of the LGBTQ+ icon, BBC television presenter and Brummie Joe Lycett (formerly known as Hugo Boss), who was born in Hall Green and still lives in the city. He also attended King Edward IV Five Ways School, meaning he is irreversibly linked to the history of Birmingham.

We would like to propose that, at least unofficially, the term 'Old Joe' should refer to 'The Joe Lycett Memorial Clocktower' rather than 'The Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clocktower'. This will not erase the past of the University and the unmistakable impact that Joseph Chamberlain had, but he should be mentioned in the same breath as his imperialism.

Joe Lycett has no such links to imperialism or the Boer War, and so we would prefer that 'Old Joe' refer to Joe Lycett, and make this clear to all students, staff, members of the public and incoming freshers.