Students at Oxford college vote to rename room named after classical scholar accused of sexual harassment

  • Students said its ‘Fraenkel room’ needed to be renamed to avoid causing offence
  • They claimed the changes were 'vital' as the room is used by female students
  • Eduard Fraenkel was accused of sexual misconduct while Professor of Classics?

An Oxford?college has voted to rebrand a room named after a classical scholar who was accused of sexual harassment after his death.

Students at Corpus Christi said its ‘Fraenkel room’ needed to be renamed to spare the ‘feelings’ of college members who might be offended by it.

They said the room is used by ‘female students’ and therefore it was ‘vital’ to make the changes.

Students at Corpus Christi said its ?Fraenkel room? needed to be renamed to spare the ?feelings? of college members who might be offended by it

Students at Corpus Christi said its ‘Fraenkel room’ needed to be renamed to spare the ‘feelings’ of college members who might be offended by it

Eduard Fraenkel was accused of sexual misconduct toward female students whilst he was Professor of Classics at Corpus.

However, the allegations only came to light after his death in 1970, and were made in a memoir by Baroness Mary Warnock, a prominent philosopher.

Despite her allegations against him, Lady Warnock continued to praise Fraenkel as a great scholar.

The move comes following a number of rows over buildings named after controversial figures – with campaigners calling for them to be rebranded.

However, critics have said it amounts to censorship and ‘erasing history’.

The vote on the ‘Fraenkel room’ was taken by the student-run Junior Common Room (JCR), which represents the interests of college members.

In a meeting on Sunday night, they voted in favour of ‘lobbying the college to change the name of the Fraenkel room’ and remove Eduard Fraenkel’s portrait from the room.

They also voted in favour of boycotting of the existing name in the meantime, ruling that JCR committee members should now refer to it officially by a ‘neutral name’ until negotiations with college were concluded.

Some members suggested the use of the name ‘Corridor Room’, student newspaper Cherwell reported.

In a meeting on Sunday night, they voted in favour of ?lobbying the college to change the name of the Fraenkel room? and remove Eduard Fraenkel?s(pictured) portrait from the room

In a meeting on Sunday night, they voted in favour of ‘lobbying the college to change the name of the Fraenkel room’ and remove Eduard Fraenkel’s(pictured) portrait from the room

The motion passed with 35 votes in favour, one vote in opposition, and a single abstention.

Freya Chambers, who proposed the motion, told Cherwell: ‘The Fraenkel room is used frequently by female students — it is even used to host Women’s Welfare tea.

‘In light of this we thought it was vital to change the name of the room and to remove the photo of Frankel from the wall.

‘The allegations of sexual harassment against Fraenkel are not a secret and should not be ignored.’

Shahryar Iravani, the equal opportunities officer and seconder of the motion, said: ‘The JCR’s decision to condemn Fraenkel will be taken by the JCR president and Equal Opportunities officer to the college’s president and welfare staff, to lobby them to change the room’s name officially within equalities meetings in Hilary term.’

One member said in the meeting: ‘The priority has to be the feelings of current members.’

The allegations about Professor Fraenkel have previously caused controversy.

In 2006, Cambridge professor Mary Beard said: ‘It is impossible not to feel sisterly outrage at what would now be deemed… abuse of power.’

Fraenkel is known as one of the greatest classical scholars of the 20th century.

The academic, who was Jewish, moved to England after being removed from his post in Germany as a result of the National Socialist Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service.?

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