The governing body of Oriel College at the University of Oxford has said it wants to remove the controversial statue of Cecil Rhodes.
Council members gathered today to discuss the future of the monument, which is one of dozens of targets on a list of statues that Black Lives Matter protesters want removed for their links to racism and colonialism.
The recent Black Lives Matter protests have rekindled the discussion of whether to remove the statue – particularly following the dismantling of a monument to Edward Colston and its deposit in the port of Bristol.
Critics contend that Rhodes paved the way for apartheid in southern Africa, and raise issues with his time as head of the Cape Colony from 1890 to 1896 when the government restricted the rights of black Africans to increasing the financial criteria required to vote.
Protesters marched through the streets of Oxford this week as senior executives gathered to discuss the future of the Rhodes sculpture.
The board of directors has now decided to remove the statue, as well as the King Edward Street plaque, but an independent commission on the statue will be established before any action is taken.
The college said in a statement, “The board of directors of Oriel College voted today to launch an independent commission of inquiry into the key issues surrounding the statue in Rhodes.
The governing body of Oriel College at the University of Oxford says it wants to remove the controversial statue of Cecil Rhodes
The board of directors has now “expressed its wish to remove the statue of Cecil Rhodes and the King Edward street plaque” (photo: protesters in Oxford)
Protesters in Oxford for the removal of the statue of Cecil Rhodes yesterday. Oriel College opened its Rhodes building in 1911 after receiving £ 100,000 from the former student who died in 1902
“They also expressed their wish to remove the statue of Cecil Rhodes and the King Edward street plaque. This is what they intend to transmit to the Independent Commission of Inquiry.
“These two decisions were made after a long period of debate and reflection and with full awareness of the impact these decisions are likely to have in Britain and around the world.
“The Commission will address the issue of Rhodes’ heritage and ways to improve access and attendance to undergraduate, graduate and faculty members of BAME, as well as a review of how the college’s commitment to diversity in the 21st century can more easily adapt to its past. “
Oriel College opened its Rhodes building in 1911 after receiving £ 100,000 from the former student who died in 1902.
A petition with 180,000 signatures requesting the removal of the statue is the latest rallying cry in five years of campaigning.
In 2015, students from the University of Cape Town successfully lobbied to bring down a statue of imperialism. However, attempts to change the name of the University of Rhodes have failed.
The Rhodes Must Fall campaign soon arrived in Oxford. In January 2016, students voted to remove the statue in a survey not affiliated with the university.
A statue of Cecil Rhodes, top center, the controversial Victorian imperialist, stands on the facade of Oriel College in Oxford
On Sunday, the Oriel Middle common room – the college’s student body – adopted a motion to approve the removal of the statue from Rhodes. A total of 124 students voted in favor, 62 against and 17 abstained.
The statue of Cecil Rhodes was erected in his honor by Oriel College at the University of Oxford after making a donation for a new building.
The Oriel College commission will report to the governing body by the end of the year, the statement said.
He continued, “The commission intends to draw on the broadest and deepest experience, opinions and backgrounds possible.
“The survey will in turn invite contributions from a wide range of stakeholders from Oxford itself and the country as a whole; students, representatives from Rhodes Must Fall and the Oxford City Council, as well as Oxford and Oriel alumni and city residents. Written and oral evidence will be requested.
“It is expected that some oral testimony sessions will be held in public, with rules of engagement similar to those of a select parliamentary committee.
“By creating this commission, Oriel’s governing body is demonstrating its willingness to be guided by all of its stakeholders.
“The governing body believes that this decision will allow for a serious, appropriate and productive resolution of a complex series of issues. “
A “hit list” of 78 statues and memorials to some of Britain’s most famous personalities has been created by an anti-racism group urging local communities to remove them because they “celebrate racism and slavery”
Demonstrations took place yesterday before a meeting between members of the board of directors of Oriel College, who have now expressed their desire to have the statue removed
Protesters in Oxford for the removal of the statue of Cecil Rhodes on June 16. Last week, the University of Liverpool announced that a room named after former Prime Minister William Gladstone would change after students point out its links to the slave trade
Rhodes Must Fall: a chronology of events
March 2015: Students from the University of Cape Town begin to protest to remove the statue.
April 2015: After a vote by the university council, the statue is removed
May 2015: A vote takes place at the University of Rhodes in South Africa to change the name of the university. The vote is rejected.
January 2016: Vote held by Oxford students at Oxford Union, not affiliated with the University of Oxford, votes to remove the statue.
January 2016: Released report reveals university will face huge funding loss if it removes the statue.
June 2020: The Rhodes Must Fall campaign is highlighted among the growing anti-racist protests of the Black Lives Matter movement after the death of the American George Floyd. It is the subject of particular attention after the overthrow of a statue of the slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol.
This comes after the campaign to remove the controversial Cecil Rhodes statue from an Oxford college was called “short-sighted” by the minister for universities.
Michelle Donelan said that we should “remember and learn” from history rather than “change” the past.
His comments came after protesters renewed calls for the statue of British imperialism to be removed from Oriel College at Oxford University.
Asked about the Black Lives Matter movement and whether universities could do more to tackle equality concerns, Donelan said she agreed with the Prime Minister that “we shouldn’t be trying to censor or to change our past. “
Speaking at a webinar hosted by the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi), she said: “Recent actions, such as renaming buildings bearing the name of Gladstone or campaigns to remove the statue from Rhodes , I think, are pretty shortsighted.
“Because if we can’t rewrite our history, what we have to do is remember it and learn from it.”
Last week, the University of Liverpool announced that a room named after former Prime Minister William Gladstone would change after students highlight its links to the slave trade.
In a letter from the Daily Telegraph, a group of Oxford professors criticized the vice-rector’s response to the Rhodes Must Fall campaign.
Professor Louise Richardson, vice-chancellor of Oxford, told the BBC that “hiding our history is not the way to enlightenment.”
But academics contend in the letter that “the opposite is true,” adding that “full and frank accounting of the history of Britain” was required.
Demonstrations were held outside Oriel College to demand that the statue be removed from the building’s High Street entrance, as well as to protest racism after the death of George Floyd in the United States.
A spokesperson for Oriel College said: “The governing body and all interested parties of Oriel College are fully aware of the responsibility they have for the Rhodes statue and more broad in discussion, and they will of course talk about it at their next meeting program. ‘
Black Lives Matter protests took to the streets on Tuesday, with around 200 people reportedly present
The Rhodes Must Fall movement started in 2015 in South Africa, where students have successfully removed a Rhodes statue from their campus – so far, attempts to do the same at Oxford have failed.
Operation Free Churchill begins: workers arrive to remove the metal box protecting the statue of Sir Winston from Black Lives Matter protesters ahead of the ceremony tomorrow when London receives the Legion of Honor from President Macron
- The statue of Sir Winston Churchill in Parliament Square is discovered today
- This decision precedes French President Macron’s visit to London
- On June 18, 1940, Charles de Gaulle in exile gives a dramatic speech in London
- President Macron to travel to London tomorrow for 80th anniversary
- Macron will also meet with Boris Johnson and meet with Prince Charles
Workers descended on Westminster today to remove the metal planks covering the statue of Sir Winston Churchill before the French President’s visit to London tomorrow.
The team, dressed in helmets and protective clothing, set to work to remove the protective box around the monument to the former Prime Minister just in time for President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to the capital.
The statue, along with those of Nelson Mandela and Gandhi, was shipped on June 12 after being smeared with graffiti accusing him of being “racist” amid the Black Lives Matter protests.
The protests, which also saw far-right protesters clash with police, followed the assassination of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.
Workers arrived at Parliament Square in London today to remove the metal box surrounding the statue of former Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill
Worker wearing protective gear begins to remove metal box around former Prime Minister
A conservative peer previously said that the statue of Sir Winston Churchill raised the “banner of anarchy” in Parliament Square.
The mayor’s office confirmed today to MailOnline that the boarding would be withdrawn before Mr. Macron’s visit, but declined to say what time it would happen. The boards around Gandhi and Mandela’s statutes will await a “review”.
A spokesperson said, “The covering around the statue of Winston Churchill will be removed for President Macron’s visit to London.
“But the protective coatings around the statues of Mandela and Gandhi, for which the mayor is also responsible, will remain in place” under study “.
English Heritage said the planks around the cenotaph had been taken down on Monday evening.
A DBR employee, whose name was Winston and who was originally tasked with removing graffiti from the statue of Sir Winston, fears that it would take “overnight” to eliminate the vandalism that is deeply embedded in rough stone.
The DBR London employee said: “I have already released the painting, but the ghost images are still there.
“It’s raw granite, so it’s going to be difficult to get into the stone itself. I think it will take all night. Honestly, I am not happy because I prefer to sleep.
He denied feeling the pressure of time accompanying the president’s arrival, adding, “I know Macron is going to look at the statue, but there is no pressure. It’s a job like any other.
Winston has been cleaning up graffiti across London since 2006 and says his job doesn’t allow him to take political parties.
He said: “I am not allowed to express political opinions. It doesn’t matter who put the graffiti. Like I said before, it’s just a job. At the end of the day, it happens all the time.
Following the decision of the mayor of London Sadiq Khan to board the monument dedicated to Sir Winston, the Prime Minister declared that it was “absurd and erroneous” to have to cover the statue of a “national hero” to protect him attacks.
On the day of his embarkation, Mr. Johnson said, “What makes me sad about what’s going on today is that you have a situation in which the statue of Winston Churchill, who is a national hero , had to be taken on board for fear of a violent attack. To me, this is both absurd and false.
At a rally of “counter-demonstrators” in central London on Saturday, posters were seen on the protective boarding, criticizing the vandalism of the statues.
A poster said, “Don’t try to destroy our history. Keep our history and learn it so that the same mistakes do not happen again.
Earlier in the day, stickers bearing the West Ham Football Club logo could still be seen on boarding as police patrolled the plaza before the withdrawal.
The Prime Minister’s visit marks the 80th anniversary of General Charles de Gaulle’s call to the French population to resist the German occupation of France during the Second World War.
A spokesperson for the mayor’s office confirmed today that they will remove the canister around Sir Winston Churchill
Two workers remove the metal fence surrounding the statue as work begins to remove the metal box
Two staff members begin to remove the box around the monument in London after it was loaded earlier this month
Worker begins to remove protective panel around Sir Winston before French leader visits
Workers prepare to remove metal planks before French Prime Minister visits to mark 80th anniversary of General Charles de Gaulle’s appeal to the French population to resist the German occupation of France during the Second World War
His rallying call was broadcast on the BBC in June 1940, when he said, “I call all French people who want to remain free to listen to my voice and follow me.”
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said it was “important” that the boarding around the Churchill statue be removed before Mr. Macron’s visit.
“Covering Churchill at that time would not be a great idea,” he said at the daily Downing Street briefing.
Macron will be greeted in London with a Coldstream Guards ceremonial honor guard at Clarence House and an aerial parade of RAF red arrows alongside their French counterparts, La Patrouille de France.
Khan was forced to defend his decision to cover the Churchill statue in Parliament Square after criticism from the Minister of the Interior.
“We must free Churchill, a hero of our nation, who fought fascism and racism in this country and in Europe.
“It has given us the freedom to live our lives as we do today,” Priti Patel told the Daily Mail.
“We have seen the desecration of war memorials, which is totally unacceptable.
“Now we see a national hero being embarked. “
Police officers and construction workers arrive at Parliament Square in London as work begins on removing the protective panel
Two workers wearing protective gear climb on scaffolding as they slowly begin to remove the planks around Sir Winston
Two police stand guard as workers proceed to remove the protective panel around the statue in Parliament Square
Person wears protective cover over head as work begins to remove box
A team of workers dismantles the protective box around the statue of the former Prime Minister
And the Prime Minister used a Daily Telegraph article to defend the statue and warn against attempts to “photoshop” the British cultural landscape.
He hailed Churchill as “one of the greatest leaders in the country,” saying it was “the height of madness” to accuse him of racism.
“I will resist every breath of my body from any attempt to remove this statue from Parliament Square, and the sooner will be its protective shield,” he wrote.
However, Khan said the decision to protect the statues in Parliament Square was a “wise” precaution, fearing that they might become a “flash point for violence” involving far-right protesters.
Those who attended the demonstration on Saturday said they were guarding the statue of Winston Churchill and the cenotaph.
This trip will be Macron’s first trip outside of France since the coronavirus crisis actually broke out. The French leader has been criticized in some circles for his bellicose rhetoric on the virus, declaring that France was “at war” with COVID-19.
Churchill monument embarked this month amid fears of clash between Black Lives Matters activists and far-right groups
An embedded Nelson Mandela statue (left) and a statue of Mahatma Gandhi (right) in Parliament Square
The statue of Gandhi before his embarkation. Mayor’s office will “review” when it can be revealed
The situation has improved enough for Macron to say that France could claim its “first victory”.
But the challenges have remained unprecedented since World War II, with Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel spearheading a € 500 billion (£ 445 billion) bailout for Europe.
Macron, who displays de Gaulle’s war memories on his desk in his official photo, makes 2020 an anniversary year for the leader of the French resistance who will later become president of France after the occupation.
In May, he paid tribute to de Gaulle at the site of the Battle of Montcornet in 1940, one of the few effective counterattacks by French soldiers against the Nazis and where de Gaulle made a name for himself as a military commander .
The statue of Mandela as workers put a protective blanket around it
On November 9, Macron will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the general’s death by visiting his last resting place in Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises, in eastern France.
Before traveling to Britain, Macron will take part in the traditional annual ceremony at Mont Valérien outside Paris, a memorial to the French who fought against the Nazis and those who were killed by the occupying forces.
He will then travel to London, where his status as a visiting foreign dignitary will save him the controversial quarantine of virus now demanded by the British authorities of all visitors from abroad, a decision that angered Paris.
He will award the Legion of Honor to London, making it the seventh city to be decorated with the highest merit in France, after Algiers, Belgrade, Brazzaville, Liège, Luxembourg and Volgograd.
Britain, which left the EU in January, is negotiating a trade deal to govern relations after December 31, when it ceases to comply with EU rules. Macron has sometimes expressed impatience with the protracted Brexit process.
Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in an interview with French daily La Croix on Wednesday that he still does not rule out a “no deal” scenario.
He said that the UK could not “enter and leave” the EU and did not “understand the extent of their withdrawal”.
Le président français Emmanuel Macron en décembre 2018. Macron se rendra à Londres jeudi, qui marquera le 80e anniversaire d’un discours prononcé par Charles de Gaulle après son exil de France pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale
Le général Charles de Gaulle lance un appel aux Français de Londres, en Angleterre, le 18 juin 1940, juste après l’occupation nazie de la France. De Gaulle a dirigé les Forces françaises libres de Londres et plus tard d’Alger tout au long de l’occupation, et est revenu à Paris lors de sa libération en septembre 1944.
Dans son émission de radio de Londres, de Gaulle a exhorté tous ceux qui pouvaient continuer à se battre pour la France, des mots qui ont jeté les bases du mouvement de résistance et ont contribué à garder l’espoir que la France serait libérée, comme c’était finalement le cas en 1944.
«Le dernier mot a-t-il été dit? L’espoir doit-il disparaître? La défaite est-elle finale? Non! Croyez-moi, je … vous dis que rien n’est perdu pour la France », a-t-il déclaré.
La stature emblématique de De Gaulle et son esprit de guerre provocant sont encore plus exploités au cours des défis sans précédent posés par l’épidémie.
Dans un reflet révélateur de son statut, la vandalisation d’un buste du général dans le nord de la France a rencontré cette semaine un torrent d’indignation. La statue d’Hautmont a été enduite de peinture orange et du slogan «slaver».
« De Gaulle n’était ni à gauche ni à droite … Il était au-dessus des partis », a déclaré l’historien français Michel Winock, auteur d’un livre sur de Gaulle.
Mais il était aussi simplement « un héros légendaire, l’homme du 18 juin, le combattant provocateur qui incarne une France épique et glorieuse, un homme incorruptible qui n’a jamais mélangé l’argent public et son propre compte », a déclaré Winock.