Yesterday, Rice University students’ parents and guardians received a message from the University Board of Trustees, that reads, in part:
To the Rice Community:
As part of that series of initiatives, today we announce our unanimous decision about the course of action to be taken with regard to the Founder’s Memorial and the Academic Quadrangle.
The Task Force on Slavery, Segregation and Racial Injustice convened by President Leebron has issued two initial updates on its work: “On Research about Slavery” and “On the Founder’s Memorial.” The Board of Trustees formed a working group to consider the issues raised by these reports, and in particular recommendations regarding the Founder’s Memorial and more broadly the Academic Quadrangle. More recently, the Student Association (SA) adopted a resolution on Nov. 29, 2021 (“SA Resolution”) calling for, among other things, redesign of the Academic Quadrangle and relocation of the Founder’s Memorial.
The update “On the Founder’s Memorial” reported on Task Force research and discussions regarding the location of the memorial to William Marsh Rice. In particular, it noted that “The Task Force was unanimous that the Academic Quadrangle needs bold change.” Similarly, the SA resolution urged that the Founder’s Memorial not remain the “singular focal point of attraction” of the area. The Board of Trustees embraced the recommendations, as explained below. The Founder’s Memorial will be placed in a new location within the Academic Quadrangle to achieve these goals.
Importantly, we have concluded that the Academic Quadrangle can be reimagined to be more welcoming, to be an active heart of the university, and more completely represent our history, our achievements and our values. Accordingly, and with the desire to have the Rice community move forward together, the Board of Trustees will immediately inaugurate a design process, as called for in the second recommendation of the task force, to select a distinguished architect or landscape designer to reenvision the Academic Quadrangle. The board intends for the new design to have a welcoming space at its center, and sites around the quadrangle for artworks or features that prompt ongoing reflection on and appropriate celebration of our history and aspirations.
The third recommendation of the Task Force stated “that the statue of William Marsh Rice known as the Founder’s Memorial should no longer be used as an iconic image of the university in its publicity.” The administration of the university had already begun this process prior to the release of the Task Force report, and its implementation is now complete. The trustees support the administration’s decisions in this regard.
-THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF RICE UNIVERSITY
Once again, an elite institution bowed down to the demands of the woke mob that masquerades as The Task Force on Slavery, Segregation and Racial Injustice. Loudly pushing for the founder’s statue to be removed from the Academic Quadrangle for many months, the “activists” finally got what they demanded. Rice University Board of Trustees, shamefully, caved to the small minority of ignorant “social justice warriors” demanding to erase the founder who made it possible for them to get their elite education.
No historical figure is perfect. Those who consider William Marsh Rice unworthy should attend a different institution. Denigrating a charitable man while taking advantage of his generosity is disgraceful and hypocritical.
What you can do:
Here is the petition to keep the statue of William Marsh Rice at its current location. Please sign and share it.
Here is the website of the Rice Board of Trustees where you can share your feedback. Please let them know you respectfully disagree with their decision.