Extinction Rebellion Youth Cambridge graffiti Caius ‘Gate of Honour’

They have written the message ‘Eugenics is Genocide. Fisher Must Fall’

Extinction Rebellion Youth Cambridge (XRYC) targeted the ‘Gate of Honour’ at Gonville & Caius College today, graffitiing an image of alumnus Ronald Fisher alongside the message ‘Eugenics is Genocide. Fisher Must Fall’.

Their action follows a petition, signed by 1,070 people at the time of writing, which calls for the removal of a stained glass window honouring Fisher in the Gonville and Caius hall.

Studying Mathematics at Caius between 1909 and 1912, Fisher was founder of the Cambridge Eugenics society, arguing that people were divided into ‘”genetically inferior” and “genetically superior” lines based on racial divisions.


Credit: XR Youth Cambridge

In a statement, XRYC says that they “join other groups, including students and staff of the University of Cambridge, in calling for the college to remove its memorial window to Fisher and to recognise the role he played in perpetuating white supremacy”, which echoes a similar statement made by Annie, another XRYC member. She says: “We are painfully aware that the city we live in has made immense contributions to injustice of all types – climate, racial and social. The repercussions of racist and exploitative research right here have been felt all around the planet. It is long past time for Cambridge to own up to its racist heritage and end the glorification of white supremacy.”

This is not the first time that XR have taken action and damaged Cambridge college property – in February activists dug up Trinity Lawn in protest against Trinity’s substantial investment in the fossil fuel industry. This latest action takes place in the wake of protests up and down the country calling for monuments dedicated to figures who perpetuated white supremacy or oppression of black people in the UK throughout history to be removed.

XRYC maintain that the group acted alone, and “all rebels taking part in this action did so during their daily exercise, wore masks and socially distanced themselves to ensure the safety of all involved”.

A spokesperson for Gonville and Caius college has said in response to yesterday’s events: “The College respects the right to freedom of speech but does not condone vandalism.”

Caius have since begun to remove the graffiti.



All image credits to Extinction Rebellion Youth Cambridge