The University of Oxford’s Oriel College said Thursday it would not remove a statue of Cecil Rhodes, Oxford benefactor and 19th-century imperialist, even though the majority of members of an independent commission “backed the College’s original wish … to remove the statue.”
The university cited “regulatory and financial challenges” involved in removing the statue, which is located on the facade of a nationally protected historic building in England.
“The Governing Body has carefully considered the regulatory and financial challenges, including the expected time frame for removal, which could run into years with no certainty of outcome, together with the total cost of removal,” the college said in a press release.
“In light of the considerable obstacles to removal, Oriel’s Governing Body has decided not to begin the legal process for relocation of the memorials. Instead, it is determined to focus its time and resources on delivering the report’s recommendations around the contextualization of the College’s relationship with Rhodes, as well as improving educational equality, diversity and inclusion amongst its student cohort and academic community.”
Members of Rhodes Must Fall, a group that has long campaigned for the statue’s removal, condemned the decision not to remove the statue, according to the BBC.
“No matter how Oriel College might try to justify their decision, allowing the statue to remain is an act of institutional racism,” the group said.
“Pretending that this is a choice made due to financial costs is a slap in the face with the hand of white supremacy.”