Extinction Rebellion activists spray paint iconic gate at Cambridge college

The message on the 'Gate of Honour' at Gonville & Caius College. Credit: PA

Extinction Rebellion activists have spray painted an iconic gate outside a college at the University of Cambridge.

The group want Gonville & Caius College to remove a stained-glass window which commemorates geneticist and statistician Ronald Fisher.

Fisher was the founder of the Cambridge Eugenics society and famously claimed a cap should be placed on the fertility of the 'genetically inferior'.

He was widely regarded as one of the twentieth century’s greatest scientists and was described as "a genius who almost single-handedly created the foundations for modern statistical science."

Protestors painted the words: 'Fisher Must Fall' on the college's 'Gate of Honour' on Thursday evening, along with another message saying: 'Eugenics is Genocide.'

Ronald Fisher (left) and the stained glass window (right). Credit: Wikicommons

Students at the college pass through the Gate of Honour on their way to the neighbouring Senate House to receive their degrees, and the gate is only used for special occasions.

The gate was designed by John Caius in the 1560s, alongside two others gates - 'The Gate of Humility' and 'The Gate of Virtue'.

A petition calling for the Ronald Fisher window to be taken down had reached more than 1,000 signatures on Friday, and the window was also recently named as one of the monuments that Black Lives Matter protestors believe should be removed.

"We have been watching in awe as people around the world stand up to their governments and demand justice," Extinction Rebellion Youth Cambridge member Annie said.

"In XRYC, we are painfully aware that the city we live in has made immense contributions to injustice of all types - climate, racial and social.

"The repercussions of racist and exploitative research right here have been felt all around the planet. It is long past time for Cambridge to own up to its racist heritage and end the glorification of white supremacy."

A spokesperson for Gonville & Caius College told ITV News Anglia that discussions are due to take place soon about the future of the window.

“The college respects the right to freedom of speech but does not condone vandalism," a spokesperson said.

"The issue of the Fisher Window is one that has been of interest to Fellows and students for some time and we are aware of the growing concern and anger towards it.

"College Officers have discussed this important but complex question with student representatives, and the college is taking the matter forward for debate and decision. It should also be noted that the window is not currently visible to students and visitors."