Caius College decides to remove commemorative window to Eugenicist alum
Caius students received an email today from the Master and Senior Tutor of the college
In an email sent out to Gonville & Caius’ students today, the Master and Senior Tutor of the College announced that the window and portrait dedicated to statistician and Eugenicist R.A Fisher are to be removed from the college Hall, as decided by the College Council, “subject to listed Building consent”.
The email stated: “The Council was aided in its decision by the thoughtful papers and arguments on all sides presented to it by fellows and students.
It acknowledged the crucial role played by student representatives and the student body as a whole in bringing this particular issue and the broader issue of the racism that students have experienced in College to the Council for action.”
The window dedicated to R.A Fisher, an alum and former fellow of the college, has long sparked controversy within the college student community. However, in the wake of the BLM protest movement sweeping across the country and monuments dedicated to prominent figures associated with the slave trade and white supremacism in Britain (such as Edward Colston and Cecil Rhodes) placed under renewed scrutiny, the college once again came under fire.
A petition started by current students at the college on change.org appealing for the window to be removed amassed almost 1,500 signatures and XR Youth Cambridge graffitied on Caius’ ‘Gate of Honour’ in protest.
A statement released by the college onto their website following the announcement, read: “The College is now aware of the views and actions of R.A. Fisher in a way that was not fully appreciated in 1989. The College Council was clear that it should no longer honour Fisher the man with a window, which causes such broad offence.”
The statement also included the words of the Master of Gonville & Caius College, Dr Pippa Rogerson, who said: “The College is committed to doing better in the way of diversity and equality at Caius. I look forward to the continuation of debate on race, class, history, science and current student experiences of Caius. We will develop together ideas of how to broaden and strengthen our community for all its members.”
The email also informed students that “an Extraordinary General Meeting of the fellowship is being called for 7th July to consider what we plan to do with the Fisher window once it has been removed”, and explained that student representatives will be able to take part in the meeting to present their case if they so wish.