June 18, 2020
The governing body of Oxford University’s Oriel College says it wants to remove the controversial statue of Cecil Rhodes.
Board members met today to discuss the future of the monument, which is one of dozens of targets appearing on a list of statues Black Lives Matter protesters want to see taken down for links to racism and colonialism.
Recent Black Lives Matter protests reignited discussion on whether the statue should be removed – particularly in the wake of a monument to Edward Colston being pulled down and dumped in the harbour in Bristol.
Critics argue Rhodes paved the way for the apartheid in southern Africa, and raise issue with his time as leader of the Cape Colony, from 1890 to 1896, when government restricted black Africans’ rights by increasing the financial criteria people required in order to vote.
Demonstrators have been marching through the streets of Oxford this week as senior administrators met to discuss the future of the Rhodes sculpture.
The board has now decided they want to remove the statue, along with the King Edward Street Plaque, but an independent commission into the statue will be set up before any action is taken.
The college said in a statement: ‘The Governing Body of Oriel College has today voted to launch an independent Commission of Inquiry into the key issues surrounding the Rhodes statue.
‘They also expressed their wish to remove the statue of Cecil Rhodes and the King Edward Street Plaque. This is what they intend to convey to the Independent Commission of Inquiry.
‘Both of these decisions were reached after a thoughtful period of debate and reflection and with the full awareness of the impact these decisions are likely to have in Britain and around the world.
‘The Commission will deal with the issue of the Rhodes legacy and how to improve access and attendance of BAME undergraduate, graduate students and faculty, together with a review of how the college’s 21st Century commitment to diversity can sit more easily with its past.’
This article was posted: Thursday, June 18, 2020 at 3:50 am