'William Gladstone is known to have fought for reparations for slave traders like his father during the abolition of the trade, as well as not being in favour of the abolition. 'We believe someone with this controversial background should not have a university hall named after them.' Student union president Sean Turner said a decision would be made on whether they should officially back the campaign next week. Gladstone is regarded as one of the greatest statesmen of the Victorian era for his political reforms, such as the introduction of the secret ballot and the modernisation of the British Army, to his occupation of Egypt and attempt to give Home Rule to Ireland. The undergraduates want the building to be named after Channel 4 news presenter Jon Snow (pictured) His father, Sir John, who owned plantations in British Guyana and Jamaica, was chairman of the West India Association and received almost £100,000 compensation from the Government for losing hundreds of slaves after abolition in 1833. Although Gladstone wanted the slave trade banned, critics say he was not vocal enough on abolition and only agreed on the basis that owners were compensated and slaves' conditions improved first. A university spokesman said no name had yet been chosen for the new building but other re-developed accommodation has previously kept their original names. It comes after Colston's Girls' School, in Bristol, resisted calls from activists to change its name because of its links to Edward Colston, a prominent slave trader.
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