A petition has been launched on Change.org by the UCC chapter of the Green Party demanding UCC name the upcoming Student Hub after its own Professor Mary Ryan, the first female professor of any Irish or UK university.
Ryan paved the way for future pioneering female academics when she was announced as Professor of Romance Languages in UCC in 1909. The UCC Greens believe that UCC’s remembrance of Professor Ryan, solely through brief mention in the timeline laid out in the O’Rahilly Building, is sorely lacking, especially given that there are currently no buildings in the university named after a woman. Ryan was also honoured with a speech in 2010 given through video by former Irish President Mary Robinson.
“It’s frankly a disgrace that UCC don’t remember Professor Ryan as much as they should. Her place in history, her academic work and her spirit of helping students, especially in the context of the time and the struggles she faced, means that she deserves more than a few small lines on one wall in one building,” said Niamh O’Reilly, of UCC Greens.
O’Reilly continued, “The last time [UCC] named a building they did so without consulting students, and named the building after Dr. James Watson, a scientist with controversial views on race and gender, with tenuous links to UCC. There are no buildings in UCC that are named after women, and that’s not good enough.”
The petition calls for any building in UCC to be named after Professor Ryan, but given that the trailblazing academic was known for her devotion to her students, and was honoured by the French government for her work in helping them, the UCC Greens believe the Hub currently under construction would be especially ideal as it is intended to accommodate the majority of UCC’s student support offices. The campaign has also been supported by the UCC Social Democrats, as well as the UCC Feminist Society, and has gained over 700 signatures at the time of writing.
The petition is available on Change.org at www.change.org/p/university-college-cork-remembermaryryanucc or by going to bit.ly/MaryRyanUCC.