Sir Keir Starmer has demanded Oxford dons ‘get on with their jobs’ after they refused to teach students in a row over a statue of Cecil Rhodes. The Labour leader told academics it was unfair to punish ‘hard-hit’ students in their quest to remove the colonialist.
He waded into the furore after 150 lecturers threatened to stop tutorials for Oriel College students until the statue is removed from its building.
When asked yesterday if he supported the dons, Sir Keir urged them to end their boycott immediately. He told LBC News: ‘Get on with the job of teaching people. Let’s get our feet back firmly on the ground and teach the students.
‘Students have been through hell in the last 18 months you know – cooped up in flats, six at a time, quite often all of them have got Covid because they’ve given it to one another. They have been amongst the hardest hit in the last 18 months.’
Oriel last month rejected calls to tear down the statue of Rhodes after an independent commission produced a review following the long-running Rhodes Must Fall campaign.