In response to the petition organised by the Rhodes Must Fall In Oxford movement, Oriel College has released a statement setting out its position on the legacy of Cecil Rhodes. The statement pledges to improve the College’s BME provision and remove a plaque commemorating Rhodes, and to conduct a listening exercise to consider what might be done about the statue of Rhodes.Released online on the 17th December, the statement sets out the three key positions of the College: that “the representation and experience of BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) students and staff in the University of Oxford, including Oriel College, need to improve”; that “the College does not share Cecil Rhodes’s values or condone his racist views or actions”; and that the College will “commit to ensuring that acknowledgement of the historical fact of Rhodes’s bequest to the College does not suggest celebration of his unacceptable views and actions, and… commit to placing any recognition of his bequest in a clear historical context.”The online report goes on to announce that the College is “starting the process of consultation with Oxford City Council this week in advance of submitting a formal application for consent to remove the Rhodes plaque on No. 6 King Edward Street”. The statement describes the plaque as a “political tribute” to Rhodes, but Oriel cannot remove it immediately because it is in a conservation area. The College will also “put in place a series of substantive actions to improve the experience and representation of ethnic minorities in Oriel”, including greater equality and diversity training, and “fund and support a series of lectures and other events examining race equality and the continuing history of colonialism and its consequences.”Regarding the statue of Cecil Rhodes, which this term’s protests have centred on, the statement acknowledges that “it can be seen as an uncritical celebration of a controversial figure, and the colonialism and the oppression of black communities he represents”; it also notes, however, that “any changes… would require planning consent.” The College has therefore resolved to conduct a six-month listening exercise, consulting students, staff, alumni, heritage organisations and Oxford residents on the future of the Grade II listed statue. In the meantime, the College will put an explanatory notice in the window beside the statue.Commenting to Cherwell, Charlotte Ezaz, organising member of the Rhodes Must Fall campaign, said as follows: “We are pleased to see Oriel has acknowledged the harm caused by symbols of Rhodes, which they have accepted are inconsistent with the values and ethos it claims to foster. Their consideration of our petition, and subsequent response with altered positionality, is a testament to how social activism seeking to decolonize can galvanise change at an institutional level. The hard work of our members and the turn out at our Protest last term has been central in bringing about this engagement, that has finally put an end to the use of violent languages of ‘patron’, ‘businessman’, and ‘benefactor’ to describe Rhodes, a genocidal colonialist. The removal of a plaque openly venerating Rhodes is the first step in a process of decolonisation. It is an obvious contradiction in consistency to accept our arguments, remove the plaque, but not the statue. Therefore momentum of RMFs demands will be maintained until the decision is made to imminently remove the statue of Rhodes. We do not believe that six months is an acceptable amount of time for a process of “listening” or surveying; our petition is testament to the overwhelming amount of opinion in favour of the removal of the Rhodes statue, as it was surveyed with this exact purpose of gauging support.”In Saturday’s edition of the Daily Telegraph, a group of academics led by Frank Furedi, Professor of Sociology at Canterbury University, have warned that pressure from student movements such as Rhodes Must Fall threatens free speech on university campuses. In an open letter, they note “Few academics challenge censorship that emerges from students. It is important that more do, because a culture that restricts the free exchange of ideas encourages self-censorship and leaves people afraid to express their views in case they may be misinterpreted.” The academics identify a “small but vocal minority” of student activists who exert intimidating pressure in favour of censorship, and conclude the letter by stating that “students who are offended by opposing views are perhaps not yet ready to be at university.”
LONDON (AP) — Politicians from Britain, Northern Ireland and the European Union have held talks to ease post-Brexit trade tensions that have shaken Northern Ireland’s delicate political balance. British Cabinet minister Michael Gove, European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic and the leaders of Northern Ireland’s Catholic-Protestant power-sharing government held a video conference about the problems that have erupted barely a month after the U.K. made an economic split from the 27-nation EU. Northern Ireland authorities have halted veterinary checks and withdrew border staff from Belfast and Larne ports after threatening graffiti appeared referring to port workers as targets. Pro-British unionists in Northern Ireland strongly oppose new customs checks that are a product of Brexit.
Airlangga University (Unair) in Surabaya, East Java, has officially expelled a student who had reportedly tricked multiple victims into performing an act known as “bondage mummification” under the pretense of academic research.In a statement published on Wednesday, the university acknowledged that the accused student, Gilang, had committed sexual assault on the victims.Prior to his expulsion, the Unair rector, Mohammad Nasih, and its ethics committee had conducted an online meeting with Gilang’s family, in which the latter admitted his actions and expressed regret. Topics : The case, which gained public attention after several first-person accounts of the allegations made the rounds on Twitter, had tarnished the university’s reputation, said the rector.”We think this case [involving] G has caused immense damage to Unair’s reputation as a state university that upholds excellence with moral values,” Nasih said, referring to Gilang by his initial, in a statement posted on Unair’s official website.Last week, multiple victims had taken to Twitter to share their accounts of being tricked by Gilang, who was enrolled at Unair’s School of Cultural Sciences, into performing sexual mummification acts.One user with the handle @m_fikris wrote that he and his friend agreed to participate in Gilang’s thesis “research” about “wrapping” in July after Gilang persistently begged him, saying he was at risk of failing his studies for not finishing his thesis. Gilang was in his fifth year of university. Read also: UII students disappointed at clearing of former student accused of sexual abuseGilang sent instructions for @m_fikris and his friend to take turns covering each other’s bodies, including their mouths and eyes, with duct tape. He also instructed them to wrap their bodies in jarik (traditional Javanese cloth) and later asked them to record the process and to send him the footage afterward.A second victim, who requested anonymity, told The Jakarta Post that Gilang stripped him naked and sexually assaulted him after wrapping him in cloth in his rooming house last year.Another victim who spoke to the Post said that when they were both university freshmen, Gilang had drugged him, covered his entire body with a blanket, and groped him when he was sleeping at Gilang’s rooming house after a university event in 2015. “I confronted [Gilang] the next day, and he admitted all his actions,” said the victim.After the case garnered public attention, Unair established an information center for victims who wanted to report their cases and has prepared counseling services for victims.Nasih went on to say that the decision to expel Gilang was taken after considering several factors including the accounts of the victims, who felt “abused” and had their “human dignity degraded” by his actions.”We have also considered the clarification from Gilang’s family,” he said, adding that the latter had fully accepted the university’s decision.The university would hand over the legal proceedings in the case to the authorities, Nasih added.
Authorities of the Liberian National Police (LNP) have vowed to seize motorbikes if the operators violate recent restrictions that banned them from ridding in certain areas described as “No Go Zones.” According to an LNP release issued yesterday, police will be left with no alternative, but to take stern actions against motor cycle operators who violate the “No Go Zones” restriction that was imposed by the government on November 6, 2012.The release quoted the Director of Police, Colonel Chris Massaquoi, warning that repeated violation of the restriction by motorcyclists will no longer be tolerated. Col. Massaquoi has called on owners of motorcycles to advise their riders to desist as drastic measures, including the confiscation of their bikes and subsequent prosecution await anyone caught disregarding the regulation.The “No Go Zones” restriction prohibits motorcycle operators from plying the Tubman Boulevard to Central Monrovia, Somalia Drive, and from Bong Mines Bridge to Central Monrovia.”The restriction was imposed as the result of an increase in the wave of motorcycle-related accidents and injuries as well as the facilitation of criminal activities around Monrovia and its environs perceived to be masterminded by some motorcyclists.At the same time, the LNP said the City of Paynesville still remains closed to motorcyclists until the ongoing investigation into the recent incident that resulted in the death of a cyclist and the burning of police detachments in Paynesville is completed.The April 16 incident saw the vandalizing of police zones and depots. Director Massaquoi has instructed the LNP to arrest any violators who challenge the officers while they are enforcing the restriction and send those violators to the Ministry of Justice for prosecution.Col. Massaquoi called on the general public to remain law abiding and continue to report suspected crimes to the police to ensure the safety of community dwellers.He admonished those politicizing the operations of the LNP to desist as they remain focus on their law enforcement responsibility.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)