THE Oxford University College at the centre of racism allegations over a statue has put out a statement.

Oriel College released the statement this afternoon.

It comes after a renewed push by campaigners calling on the institution to take down its statue of industrialist and South African politician Cecil Rhodes over allegations he was a racist and his statue celebrates or condones his views.

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The Rhodes Must Fall campaign group and its supporters are planning to protest outside the college on Oxford High Street at 5pm today.

The college said: 

Oriel College abhors racism and discrimination in all its forms. The Governing Body are deeply committed to equality within our community at Oriel, the University of Oxford and the wider world.

As an academic institution we aim to fight prejudice and champion equal opportunities for everyone regardless of race, gender, sexuality or faith. We believe Black Lives Matter and support the right to peaceful protest.

The power of education is a catalyst for equality and inclusiveness. We understand that we are, and we want to be, a part of the public conversation about the relationship between the study of history, public commemoration, social justice, and educational equality. As a college, we continue to debate and discuss the issues raised by the presence on our site of examples of contested heritage relating to Cecil Rhodes.

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Speaking out against injustice and discrimination is vital and we are committed to doing so. We will continue to examine our practices and strive to improve them to ensure that Oriel is open to students and staff of all backgrounds, and we are determined to build a more equal and inclusive community and society.