Pepperdine concedes to the politically correct pressure, will move Christopher Columbus statue
A statue of Christopher Columbus will head to Italy after the students at Pepperdine University protested. Some students claim the figure is “a celebration of genocide and racial oppression.”
Currently located above the university’s amphitheater, the statue will be relocated to Pepperdine’s campus in Florence, Italy, President Andrew Benton told the university’s liberal arts undergraduates in a Monday email.
Relocation will take time but the process has already started, Benton wrote.
The statue, donated to the university in 1992 by a group representing the Columbus 500 Congress, has drawn pushback recently from Pepperdine students. Benton has previously described the group that funded the statue as “Italian-American friends” of the university.
Pepperdine’s student newspaper, The Graphic, reported that around two dozen students took to the statue’s location on Columbus Day last semester and chanted “take it down.” A written statement from the protest group, “Waves Against Columbus,” claimed the statue is “a celebration of genocide and racial oppression.”
College Fix detailed how Benton told students that “stories of conquest and the art associated therewith are painful reminders of loss and human tragedy” for many, including those at the university, which is affiliated with the Churches of Christ tradition.
Columbus’s exploration was taught for many years in American schools as “heroic and exciting,” he wrote: “Later, as the impact of the arrival of explorers was assessed more fully, especially as those impacts related to indigenous people, a different view formed.”
Those who donated the sculpture “meant to honor the good attributes of [Columbus’s] life” and “they did not mean to offend,” Benton wrote, saying the removal decision came after reflection and consultation with university stakeholders.
In a statement to The College Fix, the university’s Black Student Association extolled the president’s decision.
“We are happy to finally see this come to fruition. We thank everyone involved in this movement for their hard work and dedication towards fighting for this cause,” the organization said. “We are humbled to contribute to this work of justice.”