Former Australian PM weighs in on Rhodes statue debate

This was after it received a petition from the Rhodes Must Fall in Oxford movement, the college said in a statement.

Oriel College at Oxford University has offered a compromise to students campaigning for the removal of the Cecil Rhodes statue.

Rhodes was an Oxford student during the 1870s and returned to South Africa after finishing his studies where he became premier of the then-Cape Colony after founding the De Beers diamond empire.

The college says his legacy might include the scholarships, but his "values and worldview stand in absolute contrast" to a modern university.

In evidence, he cited an attack on a member of staff who questioned the campaign, and the singing of the struggle song "One Settler One Bullet" after the student council voted in favour.

"The College does not share Cecil Rhodes's values or condone his racist views or actions". The Oxford college is also considering adding "clear historical context" to his monuments. We are engaging with the issue of race in Oxford from multiple angles - from the curriculum to improving BME representation and welfare amongst staff and students. Cecil Rhodes was once a student at the college in the 18th century.

The college also promised to embark on a six-month consultation about removing a statue of the imperialist, which faces onto High Street. This plaque was erected in 1906 by a private individual. The plaque is not listed but consent is required for its removal because it is within a conservation area.

He said: "I am comparing what the [Rhodes Must Fall] movement are doing with what Al Qaeda and Isis are doing in places like Mali when destroying statues - they are destroying historical artefacts and defacing them".

The future of the statue raises complex issues, which can not be resolved quickly.

"In the absence of any context or explanation, it can be seen as an uncritical celebration of a controversial figure, and the colonialism and the oppression of black communities he represents", Oriel's statement says.

The Rhodes Must Fall campaign in South Africa has been adopted in Oxford - and in the next six months, the college will decide on what should happen to its statue. In the meantime, the College will put an explanatory notice in the window beside the statue. "Commitment to a listening exercise is not the same as commitment to taking the statue down". Removal should not be undertaken lightly'.

On November 6 students gathered in Oriel Square to demonstrate against the college's statute.

'Cecil Rhodes is commemorated by Oriel because he left money to the college.

The College has also applied to the local council for permission to remove a statue of him from their grounds.

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