Bath Spa University rebrand 'Wonkee Wednesday' mental health initiative after backlash

Wonkee Wednesday

Promotional materials for 'Wonkee Wednesday'. Image: Jack Harding/Facebook

Friday, December 7, 2018

Bath Spa University has decided to rebrand its 'Wonkee Wednesday' mental health initiative after students raised concerns about the name.

The year-long mental health and wellbeing programme was heavily critcised online after Bath Spa music student, Jack Harding, posted a picture of a banner advertising the new initiative on Facebook.

The picture was shared on Twitter by fellow student, Noah McIntyre, who wrote: "Of all the places in the world, you’d expect your own university to show a little less ignorance regarding mental health. ‘Wonkee Wednesday’. Absolute joke."


'Complete shambles'

Speaking to talkRADIO, Noah, a third year film and television student, said the name and design of the poster was a "complete shambles".

"Our University should be a place where we as students feel comfortable confronting our mental health problems, but this poster completely contradicts this and portrays the students suffering from mental health issues as weak and 'Wonkee'" he said.

The University has now taken the decision to rebrand the initiative, which has been running for nine weeks, to 'WOW - Wellbeing on Wednesdays'.



In a statement, the University said: "'Wonkee Wednesday' is a play on words, aimed at grabbing attention and generating discussion. Universities are seeing a continuing rise in the numbers of students experiencing mental health challenge and we believe the ways of dealing with this challenge need refreshing. 

"We welcome discussion and debate within our University community and don't want concerns raised by some to detract from the important focus of the events over the rest of the year, so we are re-branding the campaign."


'Why is being wonkee bad?'

A blog post written by an accessibility advisor at Bath Spa University claimed the name 'Wonkee Wednesday' was a way to flip "negative connotations on their head".

"The term could be seen as a negative, but why? Why is being a wonkee bad?" the blog post read.

It continued: "Everybody has mental health whether they have a diagnosed condition or not and everybody has their off days and can feel a bit wonkee."