UCL students are calling for the statue of Phineas to be removed due to colonial links
Phineas has been the UCL mascot since 1900
UCL students are calling for the statue of Phineas Maclino to be removed due to his historical significance as a Black Watch officer.
For many UCL students, the statue of Phineas situated in the main Student Union Bar has little more significance than a watchful figure over the debauchery of "Cheap Mondays."
However, the recent refurbishment of the bar has created an opportunity for discussion over what values the statue, a Black Watch officer, represents for the students of UCL.
The Black Watch officers, a Scottish branch of the British Army, took part in the Second Boer War which ended with a victory of the British Empire in 1902.
The statue became the UCL mascot as a celebration of the defeat of the two South African republics.
As a representative of the UCL Student Union told The Times: "The events of the conflict would not be moments that the union and its officers would wish to celebrate today, as it led to appalling abuses of human rights and the suffering and the deaths for thousands of civilians”.
The potential removal of the statue from UCL’s beloved bar has led to a debate among students. One UCL student, who believes that the statue should be taken down, told The Tab “only extremist bigots would now see Phineas as something to take pride in. This mascot doesn’t represent the beliefs of UCL.”
However, another UCL student disagreed, stating: “We cannot pretend these wars didn’t happen. The removal of this mascot could allow people to deny how fundamental colonialism has been in British history.”
A decision is expected to be made next month.