The College is also working on other initiatives to improve equality and diversity, including implicit bias trainingLouis Ashworth

Gonville and Caius have announced their decision to remove the tributary panel in the College Hall commemorating Ronald Fisher, a College alumni and eugenicist, following recent anti-racist campaigns and concerns raised by students.

The decision by the College Council was made known yesterday (25/06), in an email sent to all students by the college’s Master and Senior Tutor.

Fisher was a member of the University of Cambridge’s Eugenics Society and endorsed ideas of white supremacy and colonialism.

In a statement on the 11th of June, the College recognised the “important but complex question” of removing the window and noted that the College was “taking the matter forward for debate and decision”.

The announcement by the College follows the anti-racism protests worldwide, which were sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Discussions have surged in recent weeks about the insidious links between statues and memorials, people of colour’s historical suffering and long-standing institutions. These re-evaluations were captured by protestors toppling the statue of Bristol slave trader Edward Colston on June 7th.

Cambridge has not been immune from these discussions, with the window panel commemorating Fisher being the only memorial in Cambridge which features on Black Lives Matter’s “hit list” of statues and memorials to be removed.

The College recognised the “Council was aided in its decision by the thoughtful papers and arguments on all sides presented to it by fellows and students.”

Student representatives were also acknowledged as playing a “crucial role” in “bringing this particular issue and broader issues of racism” forward.

Gonville and Caius BME Officer, Christine Salami, told Varsity she is “very pleased at the decision to take the window down, as are the majority of students here at Caius” and that she is “looking forward to discussing how more structural changes can be made within College”.

In a statement released today (26/06), the College highlighted they are “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” with a window “which causes such broad offence.”

The College’s statement also stressed they are “working on other initiatives” including reform of the disciplinary code and implicit bias training.

Pippa Rogerson, Master of Gonville and Caius, said that the College is committed to “doing better in the way of diversity and equality.”

Rogerson looks “forward to the continuation of debate on race, class, history, science and current student experiences of Caius.” She continued: “We will develop together ideas of how to broaden and strengthen our community for all its members”.

The fervour of recent debates was captured by Extinction Rebellion Youth Cambridge’s action on June 11th, when rebels spray painted the Caius’ Gate of Honour with an image of Fisher and the message ‘Fisher Must Fall’.


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Extinction Rebellion Youth Cambridge told Varsity that the removal of the Fisher window is “a sign that the college and wider University are ready to confront their colonial pasts, removing all symbols of past oppression and making reparations where they are due.” However, they believe that the College’s decision was only made after “public scrutiny from its student and conditions created by a global anti-racist movement,” encouraging Cauis to “continue decolonising of their own volition, guided by their own conscience”.

A petition, launched by a Cambridge student, calling for the removal of the Fisher window has also amassed over 1400 signatures.

The petition highlights how “Caius students and Fellows eat, converse and celebrate in a space that also acts as a commemoration of our racist” and claims that the College “honouring him is immoral”.

The College will be holding “an Extraordinary General Meeting of the fellowship” on July 7th “to consider what we plan to do with the Fisher Window once it has been removed.” Student representatives will be invited to participate in the meeting.

The Caius announcement follows the announcement, last week, that Oxford’s Oriel College has voted in favour of removing a statue of Cecil Rhodes.

Updated: 27th June 22.01: This article was updated to include comment from Extinction Rebellion Youth Cambridge.

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