Rename David Hume Tower at UoE

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David Hume wrote racist epithets not worth repeating here. Naming the most prevalent building on campus after Hume sends a very clear message to BIPOC students at Edinburgh that we are willing to overlook this racism for the sake of alumni glory. We should, however, not boast about the racist alumni of Edinburgh, especially given the institution’s long history of involvement in the field of eugenics and phrenology.

However, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ending racism at Edinburgh. The university should be taking great steps to provide further support and resources to BIPOC on campus. In an open letter to Professor Peter Mathieson, BlackED laid out each step that needs to be taken to diminish racial inequality at the university: Making a statement, Promoting and establishing an anti-racist culture at Edinburgh, Developing a comprehensive zero-tolerance policy against racism, and Creating and supporting representation initiatives. This is a very simple step and not at all comprehensive step that might help create an anti-racist culture at the university. If you would like to learn more about blackED, you can find their Instagram at blcked_movement.

A previous iteration of this petition campaigned for the name to be changed to Julius Nyerere Tower. It has been brought to my attention by multiple students that Nyerere was harmful in his own ways, both through his ties to dictatorship and through his homophobia. This petition now only campaigns for the renaming of David Hume Tower. Thank you so much to the students who contacted me to educate me. I sincerely apologize for any harm I have caused.

Nobody is demanding we erase David Hume from history. However, we should not be promoting a man who championed white supremacy. That is mutually exclusive with the goal of reducing the harm caused by racism at Edinburgh University to students of colour. We can take Hume's writings and learn about them in context, but there is no reason the tallest building on campus should be named after him.