THE fate of ‘King’s London’ hangs in the balance tonight — with a final decision on the proposed brand to be made College Council “as soon as possible”, Principle Ed Byrne confirmed this evening.
Ed accepted that ‘King’s London’ didn’t work, but came one step short of an official announcement during an open forum on the plans.
He also added: “I would personally like to look at the use of the acronym KCL if we don’t decide to go with King’s London,” although branding chief Maxine Taylor said ‘KCL’ would be harder to promote.
There was almost unilateral agreement on rebranding in principle – but most thought King’s London was not the way forward.
When asked if he would theoretically attend UCL over King’s, Ed stood silently for a few minutes until the audience burst into laughter.
After a tense few moments, Ed answered non-committally saying: “I think they’re both great schools” and “I’m being honest”.
Afterwards he told Roar that he would send his child to King’s, but still didn’t answer for himself.
Education vice president Karen O’Brien said: “We take the views of our students extremely seriously. We wouldn’t knowingly trample on the views of our students or our academic staff.”
KCLSU president Sebastiaan Debrouwere said he hoped this was the beginning of a new culture at King’s: “I think this fora is fantastic. I hope that this will become the rule, because too often it has been the exception to the rule.”
“It might grow on me,” Ed tentatively told Roar in December.
Well, it clearly hasn’t. Despite firmly fighting for the concept of rebranding, Ed didn’t once defend ‘King’s London’ today.
But he emotionally bit back at the accusation that he wasn’t “taking responsibility” after he repeatedly said he “hadn’t been at King’s long” [about four months].
Ed was less chaotic this evening — and he’d been briefed on a suitable ‘yes/no’ question for the straw poll, which went much smoother than this afternoon, albeit with the same result.
Even in the couple of hours between Strand and Guy’s, he’d re-evaulated and consolidated ideas raised in the first forum.
By 5pm it had dawned on Ed that King’s London is all but dead – and he refocused the conversation accordingly, testing the strength of feeling about a rebrand in principle.
He was met with understanding and general agreement.
We’re only just peeling our hands away from our faces after the excruciating KCL/UCL moment.
But the incident did show that he’s happy to go against every PR principle, ignore his job title and drastically underwhelm, just in order to express a potentially bland or upsetting truth.