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More than 150 Oxford University academics are refusing to teach unless a statue of a controversial British colonial leader is removed — getting them ripped in Parliament as a “useless bunch” driven by “wokeness.

The lecturers signed a “statement of a boycott of Oriel College” over the decision to keep a statue of Cecil Rhodes, who drove colonial expansion in southern Africa in the 1800s, and for whom the school’s Rhodes Scholarship is named, according to The Telegraph.

“Faced with Oriel’s stubborn attachment to a statue that glorifies colonialism and the wealth it produced for the college, we feel we have no choice but to withdraw all discretionary work and goodwill collaborations,” the lecturers’ statement said.

Reaction to the boycott threat came from as high up as Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose office said he expects “appropriate action” to be taken to make sure students are compensated for any cancelled classes.

“Students rightly expect to get a good deal for their investment in higher education,” his spokesperson told The Telegraph. “We fully believe in protecting academic freedom but universities have a duty to maintain access to good-quality tuition as a priority.”

People attend an anti-racism rally in Bonn Square in Oxford, England on the anniversary of the death of George Floyd.Getty Images

The lecturers say they plan to refuse to teach Oriel’s undergraduates, help with outreach work or give talks or seminars “until Oriel makes a credible public commitment to remove the statue,” according to The Telegraph.

The boycott came as Oxford was already under fire after students at neighboring Magdalen College voted to remove a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II because she “represents recent colonial history.”

The leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, dismissed the Magdalen students as “a few pimply adolescents getting excited.”

As for the rebelling lecturers, he told Parliament, “I’m half tempted to say that you should be lucky not to be taught by such a useless bunch.”

“We must not allow this wokeness to happen,” he said, asking, “Why don’t they have any pride in their country, our marvelous history and our success?

“Rhodes is not a black and white figure, perhaps they’re not learned enough to have bothered to look up the history of Rhodes in any detail,” he said, calling him “a figure of importance and of interest and of enormous generosity to Oxford.”

Protesters march to Oriel College’s statue of Cecil Rhodes at the University of Oxford on the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death.Getty Images

MP Tom Hunt also asked Parliament to make “time for us to discuss what we can do to prevent the ‘wokification’ of Oxbridge colleges?”

Rhodes, who founded Rhodesia and served as prime minister of the Cape Colony in the 1890s, supported apartheid-style measures in southern Africa, The Telegraph said. He is also known for endowing the fund that supports the famous Rhodes Scholarship in 1903.

Students began the “Rhodes Must Fall” campaign in 2015, but it was reinvigorated after other statues were toppled during Black Lives Matter protests last year, The Telegraph said.

Other Oxford academics called the boycott “pathetic” and “ludicrous,” The Telegraph said.

“The petition is clearly bonkers and the grown-ups around Oxford should know better,” one lecturer told the UK paper.

“It is crazy to take out their virtue-signaling on the Oriel undergraduates.”

Filed under boris johnson ,  boycotts ,  Oxford University ,  statues ,  6/10/21

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GOP slams Biden admin for using tax funds on gender-transition surgery for veterans

Republicans on Capitol Hill are firing back at the news that transgender veterans will soon be able to receive gender-transition surgeries through the Veterans Affairs (VA) health care coverage.

VA Secretary Denis McDonough announced Saturday that the department has taken the first step, in what is expected to be a years-long process, toward providing gender transition surgeries covered by the veteran healthcare network.

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"We’re making these changes not only because they are the right thing to do, but because they can save lives," McDonough announced during a Pride event in Orlando. 

But while the VA secretary said this is being done to make the department "more welcoming" to all veterans, the move has frustrated GOP lawmakers. 

"President Biden and Secretary McDonough should be less focused on winning the culture wars and more focused on helping the veterans who are suffering from the actual wars," Ranking Member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Rep. Mike Bost, told Fox News. 

"Congress has been waiting for months for them to come to the table and help us deliver care and benefits to toxic-exposed veterans who are sick and dying. We have gotten no response," the veteran continued. "Yet, somehow they found time to decide that taxpayers should pay for gender transition surgeries at VA medical facilities."

The National Center for Transgender Equality estimates there are more than 134,000 transgender veterans in America today, along with another 15,000 transgender individuals serving in the ranks.

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Though McDonough said changing the VA’s health regulations will "take time," roughly 4,000 veterans nationwide are estimated to be interested in the gender transitioning procedure, reported the Military Times.

It remains unclear what the surgery costs could look like for the VA, but Montana Republican Rep. Matt Rosendale has objected to using funds provided to the VA through taxpayer dollars.

"Advocating for taxpayer-funded gender transition surgeries is an absolute disgrace," Rosendale said in a statement to Fox News. "This is yet another radical policy proposal by an administration with no concern for the reality of its harmful effects on those suffering from mental illness who have sacrificed for our country."

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Saturday’s announcement shows a drastic shift from the Trump administration that banned transgender participation in the military and limited surgery options for those already in the armed forces. 

Biden reversed the transgender military ban days after entering the White House.

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