University of Oregon responds to destruction of campus statues

2020 Protests

Pioneer Man, Pioneer Mother statues taken from pedestals on June 13 by protesters

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The University of Oregon said it does not condone the acts of vandalism that took place with the removal of two of its campus statues.

Over the weekend protesters tore down the Pioneer Mother and the Pioneer Man statues outside of Johnson Hall. The actions follow a national trend of statues and monuments of Confederate figures being destroyed. Statues of non-Confederate figures with ties to slavery and oppression like Christopher Columbus have also been targeted.

The school released a statement late Saturday saying, “Decisions about the future of the Pioneer statues and other monuments should be made by the campus community through an inclusive and deliberative process, not a unilateral act of destruction.”

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Last week, U of O president Michael Schill had recommended that the Board of Trustees rename Deady Hall. The building was named after a Matthew Deady, President of the Oregon Constitutional Convention. Deady, however, holds a record of advocating discrimination against people of color and favored slavery.

Schill had also announced to the University Senate that he was asking a campus committee to look at whether statues or monuments on campus, including two Pioneer statues, should be removed.

School officials said the university will put the statues in safe storage and “allow that process to play out.”

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