Oriel College of Britain's University of Oxford has announced that it is starting the process of removing a plaque that honors Cecil Rhodes, the British imperialist whose bequest created Rhodes Scholarships. Minority students have been pushing the college to remove the plaque and also a statue of Rhodes. The college announced it is seeking local authorities' approval to remove the plaque, explaining that "this plaque was erected in 1906 by a private individual. Its wording is a political tribute, and the college believes its continuing display on Oriel property is inconsistent with our principles."
At the same time, the college announced the start of a six-month review on what, if anything, to do about the statue. "In the absence of any context or explanation, it can be seen as an uncritical celebration of a controversial figure, and the colonialism and the oppression of black communities he represents: a serious issue in a college and university with a diverse and international mix of students and staff, and which aims to be a welcoming academic community." But the college statement noted that the statue "has been identified by Historic England as being of particular historical interest, in part precisely because of the controversy which surrounds Rhodes." So the college is consulting various groups about what to do about the statue. For now, the college will "put up a temporary notice in the window of the High Street building, below the statue, clarifying its historical context and the college’s position on Rhodes."
Rhodes Must Fall, the student group that has been pushing for the removal of the plaque and the statue, issued a statement saying that the review should have started a long time ago, and that the statue should be removed. "Commitment to a listening exercise is not the same as commitment to taking the statue down. Our movement is concerned with symbolism as well as other aspects of decolonization, such as curriculum and representation. The action plans that Oriel College has committed to are a starting point in dealing with the process of decolonization, but they are not sufficient," the statement said.
Navitas, an Australia-based company that develops and recruits international students into “pathway programs” that combine English as a second language and academic course work, announced this week that it is ending its partnership with Western Kentucky University after more than five years of operation.
Western Kentucky was one of the earliest U.S. institutions to join with corporate partners to create such pathway programs. The contract that Navitas and Western Kentucky signed in 2010 was for a 10-year term.
Technion-Israel Institute of Technology broke ground Wednesday on a campus in China. Technion is partnering with Shantou University to establish the Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology. The plan is for the new institution to enroll its first class of 100 chemical engineering students in 2016 and to eventually grow to 5,000 students -- 4,000 undergraduate and 1,000 graduate students.
Technion received a $130 million gift from the Li Ka-Shing Foundation in 2013 to support development of the campus, which will be built on land granted by the Guangdong provincial government and the Shantou municipal government.
Texas A&M University and the University of Haifa on Monday announced plans to establish a joint institute for marine science research in Israel. The universities said they will invest $5.5 million to establish the Texas A&M -- University of Haifa Eastern Mediterranean Observatory on Haifa's campus.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called Monday for banning all Muslims from entering the U.S. “until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on.”
A written statement put out by Trump’s campaign in the wake of terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, Calif., and Paris cited “great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population.”
“Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine,” said Trump, who is the front-runner among the Republican candidates. “Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.”
Trump’s statement provoked immediate criticism. "One has to wonder what Donald Trump will say next as he ramps up his anti-Muslim bigotry,” Ibrahim Hooper, the national communications director at the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told The Washington Post. “Where is there left for him to go? Are we talking internment camps? Are we talking the final solution to the Muslim question? I feel like I'm back in the 1930s.”
Some of Trump’s competitors for the Republican presidential nomination also took to Twitter to condemn his proposal. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush tweeted, “Donald Trump is unhinged. His 'policy' proposals are not serious.” U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, tweeted, “@Realdonaldtrump has gone from making absurd comments to being downright dangerous with his bombastic rhetoric.”
The leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton, called Trump’s proposal “reprehensible, prejudiced and divisive.”
Trump’s campaign has been marked by his nativist rhetoric and policy proposals. In August, however, he expressed support for international students, tweeting, “When foreigners attend our great colleges and want to stay in the U.S., they should not be thrown out of our country.”
Nearly one million international students came to U.S. colleges and universities in 2014-15, according to a report published by the Institute of International Education. The report does not include data on international students’ religious affiliations, but more than 100,000 of those students hailed from the Middle East and North Africa regions.