Two pioneer statues torn down on UO campus

Two Pioneer Statues were torn down on the University of Oregon campus Saturday night.

Posted: Jun 13, 2020 9:38 PM
Updated: Jun 15, 2020 1:45 PM

EUGENE, Ore. --- Two pioneer statues were torn down on the University of Oregon campus Saturday night. 

Both the Pioneer statue and Pioneer Mother were knocked down by an unknown group. 

The Pioneer statue was dragged up the steps of Johnson Hall. The Pioneer Mother is lying next to the mount it was originally on.

The vandalism happened while a Black Lives Matter protest was taking place just a couple of miles away at Alton Baker Park around 7:40 p.m. 

Leaders with Black Unity, which organized the peaceful protest and march, confirmed none of their members participated in the events on the UO campus and the incidents were unrelated.

Some students on campus said they supported the move while others on campus quickly condemned it. 

"I just think that this is uncalled for. This is part of history. Erasing history does not help," said Sue Haines, who noticed the damage while walking through campus. 

Patience Collier, a graduate student at UO, said the university failed it students by not removing the statues sooner. 

"Many times when people talk about it, they say, 'We shouldn't erase history, we shouldn't take it down.' But there are places for it that are not at the center of campus at a place of honor where native students have to walk past this statue every day," Collier said. 

The university released a statement Saturday night saying it does not support acts of vandalism. The statues will be put in storage until a decision is made about their future.

Read the university's full statement: 

"These are obviously turbulent times. While we support peaceful protest and vigorous expression of ideas, we do not condone acts of vandalism. Our country, state and campus are coming to terms with historic and pervasive racism that we must address, but it is unfortunate that someone chose to deface and tear down these statues. Decisions about the future of the Pioneer statues and other monuments should be made by the campus community through an inclusive and deliberative process, not a unilateral act of destruction. Just this week, President Michael Schill recommended that the Board of Trustees dename Deady Hall and announced to the University Senate that he was asking a campus committee to look at whether statues or monuments on campus, including two Pioneer statues, should be removed. The university will put the statues in safe storage and allow that process to play out."

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