A college at Oxford University despite their being petitions to have the statue of the British imperialist Cecil Rhodes removed, says it will not take down the statue. Campaigners for the taking down of the Rhodes statue argue that it represents white supremacy at the Oriel College. The Rhodes Must Fall campaign came following a 245 to 212 votes cast by the Oxford Union debate society in early January with many voters supporting the removal of the statue.
Cecil Rhodes was a businessman and politician living in southern Africa in the 19th century where he perpetuated white supremacy ideas and policies. The campaigners, who want the statue taken down, have described Oriel College’s decision not to take down the statue as “outrageous, dishonest and cynical.” They have vowed to put up a more spirited campaign to have the statue taken down.
The campaigners for Rhodes Must Fall said: “This is not over. We will be redoubling our efforts and meeting over the weekend to discuss our next actions.”
On its defense, Oriel College says it did some consultation starting last month and has received overwhelming support for the Rhodes statue to stay. The college went further to say that the statue serves as a reminder of the complex history and legacies of colonialism.
The Oriel College in a statement said it has received “enormous amount of input from students, academics and other individuals and groups during its consultation.” Saying after careful consideration, they have decided that the statue will remain in place to serve as “a clear historical context to explain why it is there.”
Oriel College further states, “The College believes the recent debate has underlined that the continuing presence of these historical artefacts is an important reminder of the complexity of history and of the legacies of colonialism still felt today.
By adding context, we can help draw attention to this history, do justice to the complexity of the debate, and be true to our educational mission.”
However, the Daily Telegraph seems to discredit the reasons given by the Oriel College for refusing to take down the statue. The Daily Telegraph says that the decision was reached after the University alumni, and donors threatened to stop their millions of donations worth over £100 million if the statue were to be taken down.
The Daily Telegraph supposedly learned of this from a leaked report. A copy of the report also disclosed that certain wealthy alumni had been angered so much by the “shame and embarrassment” on the 690-year-old college and had decided to write it out of their wills.
The anti-Rhodes campaign dubbed Rhodes Must Fall began in South Africa, which successfully led to the falling of Rhodes statue in that country. The campaign was later reached Oxford University where campaigners argue that the late Cecil Rhodes views were not in line with the all “inclusive culture” of the university.
Source >> BBC