Independent Commission of Inquiry into Rhodes Statue

Further details of the Independent Commission of Inquiry into the Rhodes Statue have been released.

In a formal letter from Oriel College dated 21 July 2020, full details of the Independent Commission of Inquiry into the Rhodes statue and associated issues have been outlined.

As outlined in our previous article HERE, this action follows the formal decision of Oriel College’s Governing Body to appoint a Commission of Inquiry after they expressed their wish for the statue to be removed, along with the King Edward Street Plaque.

The Governing Body had previously appointed Ms Carole Souter CBE, the current Master of St Cross College and former Chief Executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, to run the Independent Commission of Inquiry.

It has now been confirmed that other Commissioners on this Inquiry will include the broadcaster Zeinab Badawi; Peter Ainsworth, former Conservative Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, and Michelle Codrington-Rogers, teacher and educationalist.

Other Commissioners who have agreed to sit on the inquiry are; Geoffrey Austin, chair of the Oriel Alumni Advisory Committee; Shaista Aziz, Labour Party councillor on Oxford City Council; Laura Van Broekhoven, director of the Pitt Rivers Museum at the University of Oxford; Margaret Casely-Hayford, CBE, lawyer and Chancellor of Coventry University and William Beinart, emeritus professor at Oxford University, formerly Rhodes Professor of Race relations and founding director at the university’s African Studies Centre.

The Commission will work to convene a discussion with a group of historians, as well as invite submissions from a broad range of experts and stakeholders, including current and past students, representatives of Rhodes Must Fall and Oxford City Council, as well as the wider public.

A public notice will also be posted in the vicinity of the statue explaining how people can contribute their views. Written and oral submissions will be requested, and it is intended that some oral evidence sessions will be held in public, with similar rules of engagement to that of a parliamentary select committee.

The Commission will will not be releasing any interim findings, but will publish its final findings in January 2021.

Full biographical information of all Commissioners, together with more details on the inquiry, including terms of reference and how people can contribute, can be found at


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