Winnipeg School Division to consult with community about renaming Cecil Rhodes School

The Winnipeg School Division will begin the process of potentially renaming Cecil Rhodes School, starting with consulting with students, parents and members of the community.

The division’s board of trustees passed the motion Monday night to begin this process, according to trustee Jennifer Chen.

Rhodes was a British businessman, imperialist and politician who controlled and exploited southern Africa in the 19th century.

While he is known for establishing the Rhodes Scholarship, many attribute him as being the architect of apartheid. 

The motion was brought forward by Chen, and argues that continuing to honour Rhodes sends the wrong message to the school’s diverse student population.  

“School names should deliver a sense of pride to students and staff. The continued name of a white supremacist will hurt students who Cecil Rhodes would have seen as lesser humans,” the motion says. 

The motion asks the division to start the consultation process with the goal of renaming the school during the 2020/2021 school year. 

This spring, hundreds of people signed a petition asking the division to change the school’s name, in light of a global wave of anti-racism rallies and a renewed push to remove colonialist monuments.