The requests of student bodies around the country for the name of colonialist Cecil John Rhodes to be removed from Grahamstown's Rhodes University will not go forward.
The decision comes as a result of a blind vote held by a staff council meeting held on Wednesday, who overwhelmingly decided to see the name unchanged, citing "financial difficulties" as the primary reason for their decision.
"Since the issue of the name of the university came to the fore in 2015, strong views have been expressed in support of, and in opposition to, its retention. It cannot be disputed that Cecil John Rhodes was an arch-imperialist and white supremacist who treated people of this region as subhuman.
"There is also a general consensus that there is not much to celebrate about him and the way he went about doing things... It is worth noting, however, that there is consensus about what Rhodes University has come to represent in terms of academic excellence and the brand it has developed to stand out amongst the best universities in the world. This point is held both by the proponents and opponents of the name change," reads a statement issued by the university.
Social media responded with outrage, and disappointment, about the issue.
😂 I am done with Rhodes and they still haven't got it right— kellyjellybeans (@kellysjellys) December 4, 2017
I cannot believe that @Rhodes_Uni has voted to keep its name. It's against the flow of history. I've written about the issue in the past https://t.co/wsYd13imuZ, and about the Rhodes statue at UCT— Stephen Grootes (@StephenGrootes) December 7, 2017
Cecil John Rhodes is shaking in his grave. Black excellence gives you its next generation of GPs, dermatologists, internists, radiologists, surgeons, public health specialists even a new Minister of health. UCT Class of 2017 pic.twitter.com/XeRAv3frOe— Zipho Woji (@DrWoji) December 1, 2017
How is removing a name of someone who supported oppression against the flow of history? Germany removed Nazi era symbolism that doesn't mean we dont know what the Nazis did to the Jews?— Dave Tina Nyagweta (@DTNTHEGOAT) December 7, 2017
Truly hard to believe. Staggering. Regressive thinking.— The Psychonauts (@P_nauts) December 7, 2017
Absolutely agree with you Helen...enough is enough....Stephen is now also pandering to a handful of students who are looking for attention rather than study to pass their exams— Craig Ball (@craigb621) December 7, 2017
The university has in recent years been referred to on social media and among many students, past and present, as "The University Currently Known As Rhodes".
The council of the university currently known as Rhodes University voted against changing the name of, but say they'll ensure appropriate recognition is given to the "hurt" Cecil John Rhodes caused pic.twitter.com/bKATdmhinf— Gugulethu Mhlungu (@GugsM) December 6, 2017