Cambridgeshire

Sir Ronald Fisher: Cambridge college window for eugenicist to be removed

Image copyright Extinction Rebellion Youth Cambridge
Image caption Workmen cleaning the spray painted message from Gonville and Caius College's Gate of Honour

A window honouring a eugenicist at a Cambridge University college is to be removed as it causes "broad offence".

The entrance to the site of the Sir Ronald Fisher memorial, mounted at Gonville and Caius in 1989, was spray-painted by protestors on 12 June.

He was known for arguing people were divided into genetically inferior and superior groups along racial lines.

The college said it was "now aware of the views and actions... in a way that was not fully appreciated in 1989".

Sir Ronald, who attended the college from 1909 to 1912, was a statistician and geneticist who pioneered the application of statistical procedures to the design of scientific experiments.

He had also been the founding chairman of the university's eugenics society.

Spray paint on the Gate of Honour at Gonville & Caius College Image copyright Extinction Rebellion Cambridge Youth
Image caption The Sir Ronald Fisher memorial window was mounted in 1989

A stained glass window representing his 7x7 Latin Square - a mathematical model - was mounted in the college dining hall in 1989 along with a series of windows to commemorate scientific discoveries made by members of Gonville and Caius.

But earlier this month, Extinction Rebellion Youth Cambridge (XRYC) wrote "eugenics is genocide - Fisher must fall" on the college's Gate of Honour.

In a statement, the college said it had decided to take down the window, subject to listed building consent, after "serious and considered discussion".

"The college council was clear that it should no longer honour Fisher the man with a window, which causes such broad offence," it added.

"The college will now work to discuss and debate what will happen to the Fisher window once it is removed, and will be publishing these details when they are finalised."

Master of Gonville and Caius College, Dr Pippa Rogerson, said: "The college is committed to doing better in the way of diversity and equality at Caius.

"I look forward to the continuation of debate on race, class, history, science and current student experiences of Caius. We will develop together ideas of how to broaden and strengthen our community for all its members."

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