After a vociferous student campaign, St John’s has waded into the Cecil Rhodes debate, offering to be the controversial statue’s new home.
College spokesman Cameron Bridgeworth said: “We wholeheartedly believe that Rhodes Must Fall – and then be safely and carefully transported to our college to be given pride of place on top of the Great Gate.”
He continued: “Across Europe we are facing an unprecedented refugee crisis and we are proud to announce that St John’s is fulfilling its duty as one of the wealthiest colleges to house non-EU migrants in Cambridge.”
Mathmo Marcus Atherton, who led the student campaign in college, said: “First Cape Town, now Oxford. It truly seems as if nowhere is safe for massive statues of racist white men.
“History repeats itself and this is how it always happens. First they go for the statues, and then it’s the people. This is more than a political issue; this is a humanitarian crisis and it is time for our college to step up to the plinth.”
Atherton was one of hundreds of students who gathered outside the college this afternoon, armed with blankets and flasks of hot chocolate, and holding placards that stated “ALL Refugees Welcome”.
He continued: “Many students have been active in welcoming Syrian refugees to Cambridge but sadly these same students are unaware of the flagrant persecution of statues of dead white men. Today, the college has taken a positive step towards progress. We feel like we are redressing the balance.”
In the same statement, spokesman Cameron Bridgeworth also announced the creation of the “Rhodes Scholarship” which will fund the immigration of statues of more colonial figures into the college.
Mr Rhodes was unavailable for comment.