Last year Oriel College in Oxford voted to remove a statue of Cecil Rhodes from the building after a protracted protest, which gathered strength after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Rhodes was a diamond tycoon who helped shape the British Empire’s strategy in southern Africa.
The governing body of Oriel College has announced a U-turn and says it will not take down the statue of Victorian imperialist Cecil Rhodes.
A specially appointed commission had recommended it be removed from the side of the college building but on Thursday, 20 May, the college said its removal posed “regulatory and financial challenges”’ and it would instead focus on “improving educational equality, diversity and inclusion amongst its student cohort and academic community.”
The decision was immediately greeted on social media by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson who said it was a “sensible and balanced decision.”
Conservative commentator Toby Young went further and tweeted: “This is a victory for common sense over the woke Taliban.”
The campaign to remove the statue gained momentum last year during the Black Lives Matter protests.
Rhodes made his fortune in the late 19th century from gold and diamond mines where African miners labored in brutal conditions.
The entrepreneur, who died in 1902, would eventually give his name to Northern Rhodesia (what is now Zambia) and Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and would also influence the British…