In the words of the iconic Rocky Balboa: “boxing isn’t about how hard you can hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and still keep moving forward”. If that’s true, Victoria University’s Vice-Chancellor Grant Guilford might just be the greatest boxer of all time.
Since unveiling his plan to change Victoria University’s name to the University of Wellington last May, Guildford has taken a lot of damage. The first blow came with the public backlash. It seemed as if no-one in the Wellington community – not even his own staff and academics – supported his proposed name change. But Guildford kept soldiering on. He reached out to Education Minister Chris Hipkins in an attempt to force through the change – and received his second big hit, as he was promptly shut-down. But, while any lesser man would have caved in to Hipkins’ bullshit ‘listen-to-the-students-and-the-wider-public-you-represent’ advice, Guildford – being the absolute battler he is – doubled down. In a last-gasp, straw-clutching effort to force his move through, Guildford called a meeting with university members to discuss taking Hipkins to court. Yet again, Guildford was smacked down to size by his lily-livered colleagues, who told the media they weren’t entirely comfortable engaging in a legal battle without having first consulted the public.
It seemed like the last blow was one too many. Many speculated that Guildford was out for the count. Hell, even we were led to believe that Guildford – the king of comebacks, the prince of persistance, the champion of not-giving-a-fuck-about-constituents – was finally finished. In our news piece on the council’s decision not to pursue legal action, we had the gall – the fucking gall – to suggest the name change debacle was at an end.
How wrong we were.
Guildford’s back up on his feet, baby. Just when you thought he had nothing left to attempt – POW! Guildford unveils a new logo for the university. Victoria University’s redesigned logo is an ingenious piece of fuck-you-manship. The logo features a small green shield set alongside the all-bolded, all-capitalised word ‘WELLINGTON’. Below it, in the kind of small, squint-to-read-it font usually reserved for grocery receipts and legal disclaimers, hides the universities real name: ‘Victoria University of Wellington’. Well played, Guildford. Well played.
Normally we end our news summaries with a little recap of what we’ve covered. But not today. Instead, we just want to take a moment to celebrate the return of the genius that is Guildford. Just when you think he’s down, he always seems to climb back up to his feet again. Like a world-class boxer, or an overly enthusiastic fresher in bar 101, Guildford ain’t stopping until he’s curled up in the corner, black-out unconscious.
Guildford, I’m sorry we underestimated you in our last news summary. As way of formal apology, we present this haiku:
Guilford battles on
Lonely hero, setting sun
Fight has just begun
Godspeed, Guildford. Never stop being a crazy, beautiful bastard.