The Pioneer statue near Fenton Hall was vandalized over the weekend with red paint sprayed on the groin and the whip in its right hand. Googly eyes were also placed over the statue’s eyes.
The graffiti was reported to University of Oregon Police Department Monday morning around 7 a.m. and was cleaned up shortly after, UOPD spokesperson Kelly McIver said.
“University police are looking into the vandalism, as with any defacement or malicious damage to university property,” McIver said. UOPD did not name any suspects at this time.
University administration could not be reached for comment.
The statue, which sits across from Johnson Hall, depicts a pioneer standing on a rock with a rifle slung over its shoulder and a whip in its right hand.
It was designed by sculptor Alexander Phimister Proctor and installed at the university in 1919. Proctor used a trapper from the city of Burns as inspiration for the statue, according to UO libraries.
At the time of its construction, there was a movement across the country to honor pioneers through statues and monuments. Proctor designed several monuments of this nature during this time period.
At the statue’s installation, the president of the Oregon Historical Society gave a speech that praised the Anglo-Saxon race and its ability to assimilate other races and cultures to become a part of it, according to UO libraries.
“Due to these controversial statements, various students and faculty have worked to bring awareness about this issue and reveal the history and statements surrounding the statue,” according to a webpage from the UO libraries.
The Emerald will continue to report on this story as more information becomes available.