Oxford University's Oriel College has decided not to tear down its statue of the British colonialist Cecil Rhodes, because of the "overwhelming message" it received that the statue should stay. The true motive appears to have been money.
The college reportedly cut short its promised six-month "listening exercise," after it became clear that even to continue a debate on the subject could cost as much as £100 million in donations from alumni. That would catch the attention of any educational institution.
It was the correct decision, but Oriel has offered a poor lesson to its students. Not surprisingly, the #RhodesMustFallOxford campaign, which agitated for the statue's removal, has cried foul over a "dishonest and cynical" decision. "The struggle continues!" says the campaign on its Facebook page. Well, struggle on. It's good that students should get upset about the world's injustices, past and present. Yet students are visitors at universities; they have no automatic right to control what these schools express in their stones.