Students at Birmingham University have started a petition to protest at the replacement of the institution's coat of arms with the letters "UB".
Students John Gorski (left) and Matt Munro with the new image
One said this resembled "something designed in a sixth form cookery class" and was a waste of money.
But the university says the objectors have misunderstood. It is reverting to its original 1900 coat of arms, but confining that to ceremonial roles.
The initials are part of a re-branding to modernise its image and appeal.
The letters will be used as a graphical frame, bracketing such things as research achievements and quotes from academics.
John Gorski, a final year international studies with political science student, told the BBC News website: "The new symbol looks like something designed in a sixth form cookery class and totally devalues the rich heritage of the university."
... and the one it is replacing
And research engineer Reshanga Abeygunawardena said many of the university's lecturers and other staff also objected to what was being done.
The university's director of communications, Sue Primmer, accepted that some had taken exception to the changes but probably were not fully aware of what they involved.
She said that far from dropping its coat of arms, Birmingham was replacing the current "bastardised" version - thought to date from the 1970s - with its traditional 1900 charter one.
But this would be "restored to its rightful place" on such things as degree certificates - rather than being "sprinkled" all over the place as at present, even on such things as litter bins.
But the university is reverting to the oldest coat of arms
She said Birmingham was a big university - with 32,000 students, 5,600 staff and an annual turnover of £330m - but it could not be complacent.
Promoting its achievements would involve "what the university does rather than trading on past glories in a rather worthy but dull way".
"I don't think that's good enough for the people who are here now, let alone the students who are going to come in the future," she said.
Efforts were being made to explain all this to the students who were protesting.
Ms Primmer added: "But the petition is interesting. I was quite surprised that the students felt so strongly about it - it's good that they want to hold onto that tradition."