We called in at Oxford on the way back from Stratford-oa to snap Cecil Rhodes. The porters at Oriel kindly directed me to the statue (which I had walked past twice) and also pointed out the nearby plaque. Quote from The Guardian, 2nd Feb 2016.
Oriel College, Oxford, has decided to keep its statue of Cecil Rhodes, despite the Rhodes Must Fall campaign, a protest that has been one of a kind on this side of the Atlantic. Such campaigns are increasingly common in the US. Yale is facing demands for one of its colleges to be renamed, because John Calhoun, a pre-civil war southern politician, was a supporter of states’ rights and slavery. Princeton is facing demands for the renaming of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, because the former president (of the university as well as the US) shared then commonplace views that now would be considered racist.
The lack of such campaigns in the UK is probably less a result of reticence or deference on the part of the students here than the fact that historically few British universities have benefited from philanthropy on the scale of the Cecil Rhodes bequest. However, we are playing catch-up as fast as we can, so there is now a good supply of dubious benefactors to whom students will be able to object in the (near?) future.
The Rhodes Must Fall campaign has been linked to other campaigns against alleged hate speech that have targeted rightwing politicians – and those expressing doubts about the campaign for transgender rights. This has already produced the engaging spectacle of old-stager radical Germaine Greer falling foul of this new radical chic.
“Free speech on campus” has produced the usual contortions. Ministers are beginning to grumble about the rising tide of intolerance. The online magazine Spiked produced a “free speech” university ranking, another metric to join all the others. But at the same time the government wants to impose curbs on anything resembling speech that might conceivably promote an ill-defined Islamic “radicalisation”. Guardian