Oxford City Council response to Oriel College decisions on Rhodes statue

Published: Thursday, 20th May 2021

Oriel College has today published its decisions following the completion of the Independent Commission into Cecil Rhodes and related issues.

Responding to the College’s decisions, the City Council Leader said

“I am personally deeply disappointed that Oriel College have chosen today to backtrack on their previous decision to remove the Rhodes statue and ignore the views of the commission on this crucial part of their work. For people in our city this was the most important action that Oriel College could have taken to show an acknowledgement of the discrimination of the past and they have failed to act.

 “Whilst it is good news that they are accepting the other recommendations of the commission to address the legacy of colonialism, I fear that these measures will not be enough to inspire confidence without this important symbolic step. The legacy of thinkers like Rhodes still extends long tentacles into our society and it is well past time for all institutions to tackle the difficult issues of colonialism and discrimination.”

Councillor Susan Brown, Oxford City Council Leader

 

“We note the college’s decision not to remove the statue, but we are ready to progress any planning issues should they revise this decision. While government’s new policies on historic monuments gives the Secretary of State for Communities a final say in any planning approval to remove historic statues and favours ‘retain and explain, it also says each case will be considered on its merits and exceptions can be made.”

An Oxford City Council spokesperson