Oriel College to Keep Rhodes Statue in Oxford

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Oriel College, at Oxford University, have confirmed that they will be keeping the statue of Rhodes which has adorned their building for over a century. A campaign to remove the statue for Rhodes’s beliefs had led the College to start a consultation process.

In a statement the College said:

“The overwhelming message we have received has been in support of the statue remaining in place, for a variety of reasons. Following careful consideration, the College’s Governing Body has decided that the statue should remain in place, and that the College will seek to provide a clear historical context to explain why it is there. The College will do the same in respect of the plaque to Rhodes in King Edward Street. 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”.

Chris Patten, the former Conservative Cabinet Minister and Chancellor of Oxford University, had said:

“Education is not indoctrination. Our history is not a blank page on which we can write our own version of what it should have been according to our contemporary views and prejudices. Because we value tolerance, we have to listen to people who shout – at a university, mark you – about speech crimes and ‘no platforming’. We have to listen to those who presume that they can re-write history within the confines of their own notion of what is politically, culturally and morally correct”.