After a long and detailed consultation on the question of removing a statue of colonialist Cecil Rhodes, an Oxford University college has confirmed that it will be taking a principled stand and accepting loads of money from donors. “We’ve thought long and hard about this contentious issue,” said Moira Wallace, the Provost of Oriel college, “and in the end we realised that all the arguments really boiled down to a deep moral principle. The principle of loads of money.”
Many were quick to applaud the refusal to allow rational argument to trump loads of money in a hallowed seat of learning. “There should never have been any doubt in the first place,” said PPE student Sally Hellewell. “The case was open and shut. On one hand, you had lots of thoughtful and difficult decisions to make about the ethical problems of legacy and historical narrative. But on the other hand, you had loads of money.”
The college’s decision to courageously reject demands of current students in order to appease elderly millionaires was greeted with anger by campaigners. Latest attempts to persuade the college to change their minds – by dragging large heavy sacks around Oriel Square loudly saying ‘if only there was an institution where we could put all this money’ – have so far proved unsuccessful.
“What students don’t seem to understand is that we’re talking here about the powerful historical force of really quite a lot of money,” said History fellow Wallace Bogue. “Quite literally loads. I’m not sure why students can’t grasp this point more clearly – we provide plenty of examples in our colonial syllabus.”
“The academic freedom to allow rich benefactors to control the decisions, structure, and physical appearance is the bedrock of this great and noble university,” added the Provost.
“We must not let the morals of today dictate the endowments of tomorrow.”
This is an edited version of a piece that appeared on The Oxymoron