The declaration followed most of both undergraduates and postgraduates studying at Oriel had this week voted in favour of the statue being removed.
Carole Souter CBE, the current Master of St Cross College and previous President of the National Lottery Game Heritage Fund, was immediately appointed as the independent Chair of the query – which it said would continue “at rate” and report back by the end of the year.
As dealing with “the concern of the Rhodes tradition”, the questions will likewise check out “how to improve access and attendance of BAME undergrad, graduate students and professors, together with a review of how the College’s 21st Century commitment to diversity can sit more quickly with its past”.
The declaration added that the inquiry would “approach a variety of people drawn from the worlds of academia, education policy, law, politics and journalism, adding: “The commission is planning to bring into play the greatest possible breadth and depth of experience, viewpoint and background.”
It said composed and oral proof will be drawn from a broad range of stakeholders from Oxford and the nation, including students, representatives of Rhodes Need to Fall and Oxford City board, as well as alumni of Oxford and Oriel and people of the city.
“The Administration thinks that this choice will enable a serious, suitable and productive resolution of a complicated series of concerns,” the declaration included.
The statement followed Oriel’s Governing body satisfied for several hours on Wednesday afternoon in the middle of rising stress in Oxford following the current Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
Students have been composing dozens of letters to vice-chancellor Prof Louise Richardson and College heads requiring that institutional bigotry be tackled.
On Wednesday, Prof Richardson was criticised by 14 of her university’s own professors who implicated her of making “baseless claims” about Nelson Mandela after she priced quote the previous President of South Africa as saying: “Hiding our history is not the route to enlightenment.”
Writing for the Telegraph, the dons cautioned Prof Richardson that she need to not “presume to speak for black trainees or individuals of colour”, saying it was unsuitable for her to “ventriloquise” the late anti-apartheid leader. Prof Richardson hinted that Mr Mandela may not support the Rhodes Should Fall campaign because “he was a male of deep nuance who recognised complicated problems for what they were.” Indicating a speech offered by Mr Mandela in 2003 to launch the Mandela Rhodes Foundation, a partnership with the Rhodes Trust to offer scholarships to African students, she stated: “He said that we have to acknowledge our past but concentrate on the future.”
The letter was signed by Oxford academics including Robert Gildea, a teacher of contemporary history, Elleke Boehmer, a teacher of world literature and Miles Trendi, an associate professor in African politics and Faisal Devji, a teacher of India history. A separate open letter was sent out to the vice-chancellor today from the university’s black and ethnic minority personnel network, which accused her of “limited and insufficient” messages to personnel about countering institutional bigotry.
Last night, Oriel students Neil Misra and Swaraj Dash, who continued the Rhodes Needs to Fall campaign that started in 2015, informed the Telegraph: “We are definitely delighted”.