According to academics, Cecil Rhodes’ statue at Oxford College should be marked with a “Sorry” message.


According to academics, Cecil Rhodes’ statue at Oxford College should be marked with a “Sorry” message.

In the latest debate over the contentious monument, a renowned professor has suggested that a sign saying “Sorry” be placed around the neck of a statue of Cecil Rhodes.

Following Oriel College’s decision not to remove a statue of the British imperialist, more than 100 Oxford University lecturers have refused to conduct tutorials to its undergraduates.

They’ve also promised not to help Oriel College with outreach or admissions interviews, and they’ve said they won’t attend or present at any of the college’s presentations, seminars, or conferences.

It comes after Oriel College was accused of “institutional racism” last month when its governing council stated that the monument of Rhodes will not be moved from its current location outside the building.

After many other options failed, Robert Gildea, professor emeritus of modern history at Oxford and one of the petition’s signatories, said the boycott is a method of “placing pressure” on the college.

It would also be ok if the college draped a ‘Sorry’ banner around his neck today at lunchtime.

“One of the choices suggested by the commission was to keep and contextualize, so if the college put up a note explaining who Cecil Rhodes was, that would be fine,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“It would also be fine if the college put a ‘Sorry’ banner around his neck today at lunchtime.”

Prof Gildea also mentioned that sculptor Antony Gormley’s notion of turning the statue around to face the wall is a “really interesting notion.”

“Faced with Oriel’s persistent dedication to a statue that praises colonialism and the money it earned for the college, we believe we have no choice but to withdraw any discretionary work and goodwill collaborations,” the boycott organizers said in a statement.

“The collegiate university can only successfully and credibly seek to abolish racism and address the current repercussions of colonialism if all of the colleges do so,” it continued.

“Oriel College’s refusal to remove Cecil Rhodes’ statue undermines us all.”

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