Leftist students at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles called for the removal of a statue of explorer Christopher Columbus, which they claim implicates the university in a “celebration of genocide.”
According to the university’s student paper The Pepperdine Graphic, a group of 26 students dressed in black and white ribbons surrounded the statue on Monday, calling it a “celebration of genocide and racial oppression.”
The students, who are part of group called Waves Against Columbus, consequently demanded that statue be taken down, adding that Columbus represented a “culturally insensitive form of international exploration.”
They then began to chant “take it down.”
In a statement handed out by the group at the event, they argued Columbus also represents “a prioritization of nominally esteemed university donors above the cultural acceptance and personal experience of marginalized students,” as well as an “avoidance from wholly enhancing the inclusivity of Seaver College, particularly in recognition of Native American students, faculty and/or staff.”
“Our refusal to remain idle to this issue is commemorated in the white ribbon—symbolizing our memorialization of the indigenous lives lost as a result of European colonization,” the statement continued.
The protest was welcomed by the college’s dean, Michael Feltner, who described the protest as “peaceful, yet powerful,” adding that it “indicates that our community still has issues to address.”
“I welcome the comments provided by ‘Waves Against Columbus’ student group and appreciate their efforts to advocate for change at Pepperdine,” he continued.