EUGENE, OR (KPTV)- Protesters on Saturday tore down two historic statues at The University of Oregon.
The Pioneer Father and Pioneer Mother were taken down from their pedestals on campus by protesters according to a statement by the university.
The university released the following statement regarding the future of the statues:
“These are obviously turbulent times. While we support peaceful protest and vigorous expression of ideas, we do not condone acts of vandalism. Our country, state and campus are coming to terms with historic and pervasive racism that we must address, but it is unfortunate that someone chose to deface and tear down these statues.
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.
Just this week, President Michael Schill recommended that the Board of Trustees dename Deady Hall and 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.
The university will put the statues in safe storage and allow that process to play out."
The Pioneer Father near Friendly Hall and Allen Hall was the first statue placed on the UO campus in 1919, according to the university’s website. The statue has been a topic of controversy regarding its significance as it reportedly has controversial ties.
“In 1919, the President of the Oregon Historical Society made a speech at the dedication that extolled the virtues of the Anglo-Saxon race. In the speech he stated, “the Anglo-Saxon race is a branch of the Teutonic race. It was and is a liberty-loving race. It believes in the protection of life and of liberty an in the rights of property and the pursuit of happiness. This race has large powers of assimilation, and its great ideas of liberty and of the rights of mankind caused other races to become a part of it, so it became a people as well as a race.”
Due to these controversial statements, various students and faculty have worked to bring awareness about this issue and reveal the history and statements surrounding the statue.”
The Pioneer Mother was installed in 1932 outside of Johnson Hall also has some controversial ties. In an article by the Register-Guard in 2012, Brenda Fink said the mother and others like it are “celebrating the white conquest of the land.” However, it's unclear of what the statue is based on.
The removal of both statues has come in response to the national movement against racism and police brutality following the death of George Floyd.
Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.