Thursday, July 7

Cambridge College ends critical examination of founder Winston Churchill | Winston churchill


Churchill College has stopped a critical examination of its founder, Winston Churchill, by abruptly ending the role of a task force created last year in the wake of George Floyd’s assassination.

Initially conceived as a one-year program called “Churchill, Race and Empire,” the University of Cambridge has terminated the effort after a dispute between the university’s leaders and the task force, whose members had been planning a mass resignation by what he called interference in a planned event.

Professor Athene Donald, a teacher at Churchill College, said she had taken “at face value” comments from members of the task force that it should be disbanded over a dispute over organizing a conference.

“Now baseless allegations are being leveled at both the university community at large and me personally. However, I would like to emphasize that the university will continue to engage in discussions, examine the actions of important historical figures, including Churchill himself, and work on challenging attitudes, ”said Donald.

The show sparked controversy in February after it was attacked by Sir Nicholas Soames, a former Conservative MP and wartime grandson of the prime minister, after the group held an academic conference on Churchill and racism.

Professor Priyamvada Gopal, a member of Churchill College and a member of the task force, said that since then, the program had faced obstacles from the university’s leadership. On social media, he accused university leaders of “freaking out” after the backlash, which included an article by conservative historian Andrew Roberts, published by the right-wing think tank Policy Exchange.

Gopal tweeted: “Let me repeat: under pressure from groups like Policy Exchange and some members of the Churchill family, Churchill College has dissolved a group created to critically engage with Churchill’s complicated legacies. Let that sink in. “

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The university website describes the project as “some difficult discussions around important historical figures that we will actively seek to facilitate. Churchill, as a successful wartime leader, should not be mythologized as a man without major flaws; in the race he was behind even in his day. “

In its statement, Donald said that there was contact from the Churchill family about the program, but that “they are not involved in the processes of government of the university, and the implication made in some sectors that they, the Policy Exchange or the national press could have been directing matters, is misinterpreting our governance arrangements. “

Donald claimed that “at some point the task force seems to have changed direction”, leading to the dispute over a new planned conference.

“The [February] The event received a lot of, often hostile, attention because it addressed some of the parts of her life that are often not discussed in depth in the UK and do not fit well with some of the standard views on her life. That hostility was also directed at the participants, who received unacceptable racist abuse, something the university deeply deplores, “added Donald.




www.theguardian.com

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