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Naming Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) Naming university infrastructure, organisational units or positions after individuals or organisations gives Western Sydney University opportunity to honour or acknowledge those that have significantly contributed to the University. Such a contribution is usually made in two ways, either through outstanding professional service or through benefaction to the University.

(2) This policy outlines the principles, procedures and guidelines to be followed for naming of University infrastructure, organisational units and positions, and applies to:

  1. All property located on University premises including those occupied by entities and student organisations;
  2. Administrative or academic units such as departments, schools and centres;
  3. Academic positions; and
  4. Scholarships and prizes.

(3) The policy does not apply to:

  1. Commercial or contractual agreements that include naming rights, e.g. advertising, joint ventures, product development, rental and leasing arrangements;
  2. Functional names for University property, e.g. Building BA, Parramatta Campus;
  3. Sponsorship arrangements, that is when an organisation agrees to give financial or in-kind support to the University for a particular purpose or activity in return for recognition, such as naming rights for the purpose or activity.
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Section 2 - Definitions

(4) For the purposes of this policy the following definitions apply:

  1. Benefactor - a person (alive or deceased), company or other group or organisation who contributes a monetary or other benefit (by way of donation, gift or for a benefit in return) to the University.
  2. Naming rights - the granting of an exclusive name to a Western Sydney University property or part of a property to serve as the official appellation or designation.
  3. Organisational Unit - a School/Centre or other academic unit; a department, unit, directorate or other administrative unit.
  4. Property - buildings, facilities, and spaces including but not limited to roads, bridges, car parks, walkways, gardens, sporting grounds, building complexes or precincts, courtyards, outdoor laboratory facilities, dams, lakes, fields and any other physical spaces; or a part of a building such as a wing, reading rooms, libraries, foyer, lecture theatre, meeting room or tutorial rooms, performance or gallery space, and laboratories
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(5) Naming rights for property, organisational units and academic positions may be approved by the Board of Trustees on the recommendation of the Vice-Chancellor and President, and the Board Executive Committee.

(6) Academic Senate may approve scholarships and prizes, including naming rights of standard applications. Academic Senate may recommend approval of the naming rights to the Board of Trustees where the naming rights associated with a scholarship or prize is non-standard, or for any other reason. Academic Senate will report approved naming rights for scholarships or prizes to the next meeting of the Board of Trustees.

(7) Note: A submission for naming rights is considered non-standard where the naming rights are not directly related to the donor. For example, a standard application is where the donor wishes to name a prize after themselves, a relative, their company or business name, or a reasonably appropriate associated name.

(8) Naming rights for property, organisational units, academic positions and scholarships and prizes may be conferred on individuals or organisations for the following reasons or combination thereof:

  1. Contribution or service to the University
  2. Benefaction to the University
  3. Historical or cultural recognition
  4. Contribution or service to an academic discipline or profession
  5. Contribution or service to the community.

(9) The University may make available any of its property for naming as part of its own commemorative activities.

(10) The name approved:

  1. Must be consistent with the University's values and mission;
  2. Need not reflect the function of the property, organisational unit, academic position, scholarship or prize;
  3. Must not impose or imply conditions that would limit or appear to limit the University's ability to undertake its functions fully and impartially,
  4. Must be consistent with other University policies, e.g. the Research Centres Policy prescribes nomenclature protocols for the designation of research centres and groups.

(11) The length of time for which any naming rights apply will be decided by the University taking into account factors such as:

  1. The value and length of time of benefaction;
  2. The facility or other item to which the naming rights shall apply.

(12) The University may reject any request or proposal for naming rights and may revoke naming rights at any time, subject to any conditions to the contrary.

(13) No University employee should receive a private, personal benefit as part of or, in association with any naming rights proposal (refer to the Code of Conduct and Conflict of Interest Policy)

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Section 4 - Procedures

Part A - Naming Proposals

(14) Any individual or organisation may lodge a written proposal for naming rights to the Executive Director, Advancement. Proposals must include detailed relevant information about the name proposed, including where appropriate information about the person and their contribution to or association with Western Sydney University, and any financial contribution. Proposers should refer the Section 5 - Guidelines when considering a proposal.

(15) The Executive Director, Advancement will assess proposals for naming and will prepare and manage any submission regarding the naming proposal, including a recommendation on the life of the naming rights. The Executive Director, Advancement may reject a proposal which does not meet the requirements of this policy or is inconsistent with University policies , is frivolous.

(16) The Office of Advancement will liaise with and manage the relationship with the proposer and/or benefactor on behalf of the University.

(17) In assessing a proposal or preparing a submission, the Office of Advancement will consult with key areas relevant to the proposal, including as follows:

  1. Property - Chief Estate and Commercial Officer, the University General Counsel, Campus Provost, and the relevant Dean/Director;
  2. Organisational Unit - University General Counsel, Dean/Director;
  3. Position - Office of People and Success, Dean/Director, University General Counsel.

(18) Note: Where a naming proposal is of an historical nature the University Archivist should also be consulted.

(19) Where a proposal includes an Indigenous Australian name or wording, appropriate University and community consultation must be undertaken. This may include seeking advice from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Leadership, Badanami Centre for Indigenous Education, Indigenous Australian staff and students and/or other community consultation processes.

(20) The proposal will include a recommendation regarding the length of time that the naming rights will be in place. Naming rights would usually be approved for the life of the property, organisational unit, academic position or scholarship/prize but they may be approved for any period of time depending on the nature of the item and the reason for naming.

(21) Where the naming rights are honorary and relate to a former employee, the person must have finished their employment with the University and are not likely to be re-employed by the University at any time in the future. They may have an ongoing association with the University in the form of an emeritus professorship or adjunct appointment, but not be in receipt of any kind of remuneration.

(22) Proposals for naming rights in honour of a living person will not be undertaken without their consent and in the case of a deceased person the Office of Advancement will consult with relevant parties where it is appropriate and practicable to do so. (Refer to the Memorial Establishment Guidelines).

(23) The Office of Advancement will forward submissions to the Vice-President, People and Advancement via the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Engagement and Advancement for endorsement. The Vice-President, People and Advancement will forward the endorsed submission to either the Vice-Chancellor and President or Academic Senate, depending on the item to be named.

(24) The Vice-Chancellor and President will either endorse or reject the submission. Endorsed submissions will be forwarded with a recommendation to the Board Executive Committee who will make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees; or reject the submission.

(25) The Academic Senate will approve or reject submissions for the naming of standard scholarships and prizes. Where the submission is non-standard then it will make a recommendation to the Board Executive Committee, who will make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees.

(26) The Board of Trustees will be advised of any approvals or rejections made by Academic Senate through the Chair, Academic Senate's report.

(27) Proposals and submissions should remain confidential until finalised.

(28) At the end of each reporting year all approved naming rights for the year will be recorded in the University's Annual Report.

Part B - Acknowledgement

(29) The Office of Advancement, in conjunction with the Office of Marketing will organise and manage the communication or publication of naming rights, as well as any celebration in association with the approval, such as an unveiling ceremony.

(30) The Office of Advancement will maintain a register where the details of named properties, organisational units, scholarships and academic positions are retained.

(31) Where naming rights are approved for property in accordance with this policy, a plaque or similar should be erected in the foyer or other prominent place providing information on the person/organisation the infrastructure was named after, and why. The location and wording of the plaque should be included in the naming submission. The Office of Advancement will liaise with the Office of Estate and Commercial in regard to the type of plaque.

Part C - Name Usage

(32) Where naming rights are approved in accordance with this policy, that name should, where practicable, be used in conjunction with any functional names allocated, e.g. the Graham Swain Library, Building G1, Hawkesbury Campus rather than Library, Building G1, Hawkesbury Campus.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

Part D - Financial Contributions

(33) The University may honour a benefactor that has made a significant financial contribution to support the University by naming a property, organisational unit, scholarship/prize, or academic position after them. The Office of Advancement maintains an indicative schedule with regard to these circumstances and should be contacted for guidance on this matter.

(34) Where a naming rights proposal is made on the basis of benefaction to the University, it is important to note the distinction between donations and contributions that are made in return for something. Donations are made with no conditions attached. Donations of AUD$2.00 or more are tax deductable in the hands of the donor. However, if naming rights are a condition of a contribution then they should not be treated by the University as a donation. There may be GST consequences for the University and advice should be sought at the time. Benefactors should obtain their own advice about any taxation consequences for them.

Part E - Naming Guidelines

(35) To provide guidance when preparing a naming proposal, nominators/proposers should consider the following:

  1. What is the benefit to the University? Is it financial e.g. funding for a professorial chair; funding for construction or refurbishment, or benevolent e.g. goodwill through public acknowledgement of the professional contribution of a former staff member, or community member.
  2. Is the name campus specific or University wide? For example, was the person known only locally, on one campus, or did they hold a position that spanned some or all campuses? Is the name culturally or historically significant for one campus only?
  3. Where the naming proposal is in relation to a former employee is it consistent with or relevant to their type of contribution? For example if the staff member was a long standing Professor of Languages at Bankstown it is obviously not appropriate to name a new science centre at Campbelltown in their honour; more appropriate is the naming of something at Bankstown campus. However, it may be appropriate to name a garden after them as they were well known for visiting or sitting in the garden, rather than a building in which they taught.
  4. What is the historical, cultural or heritage significance to the naming, if any - e.g. Indigenous, settler, informal? For example, in terms of property, acknowledgement of local or regional Indigenous Australian names such as Yarramundi House; or local or regional settler history such as Frogmore House; or local University heritage such as Stable Square.
  5. What is the contemporary relevance of the naming proposal, if any? If the proposal is to recognise historical significance, what is the link to today? Consider, for example, a proposal to name a building or an academic position after a person that was associated with the University in the last century in a field in which the University no longer teaches?
  6. Where the proposal relates to naming property is the proposer aware of the University's known plans for that property? If it is known that the property is soon to be redeveloped for another use, is the naming proposal still relevant.
  7. Is the proposal for recognising outstanding public or community service? What is the relationship with the University, if any? For example, has the person had a recognisable and acknowledged association with the University at some stage of their life - they could for example be a former student or a publicly known advocate for the University or its community - who has excelled in community service through the arts, sport, government, health, environment, and so on?
  8. Could there be confusion over the name, e.g. is there a similarly named building on the same site or another site? If so, perhaps the proposed name could be modified, e.g. the Smith Building instead of the Alan Smith Building on Kingswood campus where the Allen Library already exists. Has the name already been used for another purpose say the naming of professorial chair? Although there is no limit on the number of times a name can be used, as a guide to avoid confusion, a name could easily be used up to five times - once for property, once for an organisational unit, once for an academic position, once for a scholarship and once for a prize.
  9. Has the person(s) or organisation been honoured or acknowledged previously by the University in any way (e.g. an honorary award or emeritus professorship)? Have they received honours from other universities, institutions, organisations, or government that might be relevant?
  10. If the person was a former staff member, is there still any connection to the person or the person's family? If so, what is that relationship? If there is no connection, has any attempt been made to contact the person or family?
  11. Does a foundation or other organisation own the name of the person to be honoured e.g. as a registered trademark?