Winnipeg School Division to discuss possible change to controversial school name

By | September 14, 2020

WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg School Division will table a motion Monday evening to begin the consultation process on the renaming of Cecil Rhodes School, that’s namesake has been linked to the apartheid.

The motion was first announced in June by Trustee Jennifer Chen after a petition in favour of changing the name gathered more than a thousand signatures in a few days.

At that time, Chen said she’d like to see the students heavily involved in the discussion of a new name.

The school is currently named after Cecil Rhodes, a prominent 19th-century British figure.

His accomplishments landed his name on the Winnipeg school, but his history isn’t without fault. His policies while Prime Minister of the Cape Colony, a British colony in what is now South Africa, paved the way for apartheid.

The motion’s rationale calls him a “white supremacist and settler colonialist.”

“Continuing to honour Cecil Rhodes sends the wrong message to these students and families. The Winnipeg School Division stands for equality for all students, and the name Cecil Rhodes does not reflect our Division’s policies of inclusion,” the motion’s rationale goes on to read.

Back in June of 2019, a Vancouver public school removed Cecil Rhodes’s name from its campus.

There is also debate at Oxford University in the U.K., where there are calls to remove a statue of Cecil Rhodes.

If the motion goes forward, the results of the consultation will be provided to the Board of Trustees no later than March 15, 2021.

The full motion and rationale can be found here

CTV News will update this story.

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