Cecil Rhodes: Oxford’s Oriel College votes to remove statue of 19th century imperialist

The governing board of Oxford University’s Oriel College has voted to remove a controversial statue of 19th century imperialist Cecil Rhodes.

Leaders at the college today announced an Independent Commission Inquiry into the “key issues surrounding” the monument, which has been the subject of recent Black Lives Matter protests.

A statement from the college read: “[The board] also expressed their wish to remove the statue of Cecil Rhodes and the King Edward Street plaque.

“This is what the intent to convey to the Independent Commission of Inquiry.”

​“Both of these decisions were reached after a thoughtful period of debate and reflection and with the full awareness of the impact these decisions are likely to have in Britain and around the world.

Carole Souter, the current master of St Cross College and former chief executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, will chair an independent commission into the issue.

The college also said: “The commission will deal with the issue issue of the Rhodes legacy and how to improve access and attendance of BAME undergraduate, graduate students and faculty, together with a review of how the college’s 21st Century commitment to diversity can sit more easily with its past.”

“The commission is intending to draw upon the greatest possible breadth and depth of experience, opinion and background,” the statement said.

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