As the ferocious campaign against racism and colonialism gets rife, Oriel College in Oxford has announced that, after doing relevant consultations, it may to take down the controversial statue of Cecil Rhodes – as campaigners against racism and colonialism call for its demolition.
The college hinted it will have to launch an “independent commission of inquiry” into the legacy and posthumous vales of Rhodes, including scholarships at the university.
Susan Brown, leader of Oxford City Council, supported the stance to take down the statue.
She revealed that the college’s inquiry would be a chance to decide where the statue will “best be curated in future”, as the fate of the statue has divided opinion.
Campaigners claim Rhodes was a colonialist and his statute stand as celebration of his ‘evil’ past.
The governors of the Oxford University college voted on yesterday to remove the statue of the colonialist.
However, authorities say the removal, due to the ‘Rhodes Must Fall’ campaign is not expected to be immediate – as the college says there will need to be consultations over planning regulations.
The announcement was “hopeful”, according to the campaigners but they warned they would remain cautious until the college had actually carried out the removal.
Campaigners disclosed in a statement that until the “Rhodes statue ceases to adorn the facade of Oriel College on Oxford’s High Street” there would still be protests over “imperial and colonial iconography” in university buildings.
The governors of the college said the decision had been reached “after a thoughtful period of debate and reflection”.
They are also fully aware of the impact these decisions are likely to have in Britain and around the world.
The commission intends to consult with groups including students, local people, councillors and the Rhodes Must Fall campaigners as they consider pertinent issues widely.
Support for black and ethnic minority students and a commitment to “diversity” are part of the issues the commission will explore.
Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy called it the “right decision” on Twitter, adding that it was “time to take figures like Rhodes down off their pedestals”.
Alan Rusbridger, principal of Lady Margaret Hall in Oxford, also welcomed the decision, tweeting: “I hope they can find a good home for him where we can discuss him rather than (appear to) venerate him.”