Poll: 69% of College Students Support Abolishing Columbus Day

Portrait of Christopher Columbus, 1519. Found in the collection of Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Artist : Piombo, Sebastiano, del (1485-1547). (Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images)
Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty

A recent poll shows that 69 percent of college students are in favor of abolishing Columbus Day and replacing it with “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.” According to supporters of the change, “the tradition of celebrating Christopher Columbus comes with an inherent celebration of genocide, violence, and colonization.”

A recent survey of 1,501 students by College Pulse reveals that about seven out of ten college students support scrapping Columbus Day for “Indigenous Peoples’ Day,” with students from Ivy League schools being in favor of the idea at an even higher rate — 80 percent — according to a report by Campus Reform.

The movement to ban — or replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day — has been growing on U.S. college campuses in recent decades, as College Pulse revealed that a staggering 69 percent of university students support doing away with the annual federal holiday observed especially by Italian-American communities across the country.

The report added that over half of the students who answered that they are in favor of abolishing Columbus Day specified that they “strongly support” the initiative. Only 21 percent of students said that they “oppose” the idea, while just nine percent answered that they “strong oppose” making the change.

As for the elite, Ivy League schools — of which an overwhelming 80 percent of students answered in support of eliminating Columbus Day — only five percent of students said that they “strongly oppose” doing away with the federal holiday.

It was also mentioned that of the students polled, 60 percent of males supported scrapping Columbus Day for Indigenous Peoples’ Day, while 80 percent of women agreed with the concept.

The report noted that those in favor of banning Columbus Day argue that “the tradition of celebrating Christopher Columbus comes with an inherent celebration of genocide, violence, and colonization.”

“Columbus Day is not just a holiday,” said Arizona State University professor Leo Killsback. “It represents the violent history of colonization in the Western hemisphere.”

In 2017, Pepperdine University in Malibu, California announced the removal of a Christopher Columbus statue that had been erected in 1992 to mark 500 years since his voyage of discovery. University president Andrew Benton said that the school would “relocate the statue to the Pepperdine campus in Florence, Italy.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo and on Instagram.

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