Smuts Portrait in Hall

On Sunday 5 August the Sunday Times published an inaccurate article relating to the College. A letter correcting these errors was published yesterday:

Your article “Cambridge students topple bust of Britain’s wartime ally Jan Smuts” (News, last week) contained inaccuracies relating to Christ’s College that I would like to correct.

First, the assertion that a portrait of Smuts was “removed” from the hall of Christ’s College. The portrait is in the same position it has been for many years. Portraits are sometimes rotated. In 2012 the Smuts portrait was temporarily moved out of the hall to display a newly acquired portrait, but it was put back in its prominent place in the hall shortly after and remains there.

Second, the assertion that the portrait was removed as a result of a student protest. Given that the Rhodes Must Fall campaign referred to in the article took place in late 2015-16 this is clearly untrue. Two years ago there was a constructive and cordial seminar with our fellows and students on the relevance of historic figures such as Smuts. We do not class such open discussions as a “protest”.

Jane Stapleton, Master, Christ’s College, Cambridge”