The University has announced plans to erect a ten-foot statue of former principal, Louise Richardson, in St Mary’s Quad this spring. The President of the Students’ Association, Pat Mathewson, has publicly voiced his support for the proposal. Mathewson told The Sinner that the statue will ‘serve as a fitting tribute to one of our most distinguished principals, under whose leadership the University has excelled in areas both academic and pastoral’
Outside of the Sabbs’ office, however, the reception was less enthusiastic. Interim principal, Garry Taylor, has refused to endorse the scheme, unsettled by Richardson’s continued influence over his administration. Richardson’s departure the University only to become a sort of éminence grise, operating from the gloom of her new office, Taylor says, is a gross violation of protocol for which the board of governors ought to be held accountable.
The board, however, claims that the scheme has in no way been steered by Richardson herself, and is merely a measure to ensure that a rich chapter in St Andrews’ history is immortalised in copper alloy. Chancellor Lord Campbell of Pittenweem has emerged stalwartly in favour of the statue’s erection. ‘It is only fitting that so admirable a compliment be paid to Louise, doyenne of terrorist studies, and a close, personal friend’
The Richardson monument is to be located alongside the statue of Bishop Henry Wardlaw, church leader and founder of the University. The arrangement will leave Richardson towering above Bishop Wardlaw by a margin of around three feet; at certain times of day he will literally be in her shadow. ‘Her stance,’ says Lord Campbell, ‘will evoke that of a benign dictator lauding down upon her subjects – legs apart, arms magnificently folded, chin set prognathously against the sky. The overall impression will be one of unassuming grace but also of menacing grandeur’.
The plans are currently being held in abeyance given the extent of the opposition, however they are expected to resume once the directors receive authorisation from Scottish Heritage. Meanwhile, a large contingent of students and faculty members are already planning how and when to demolish the statue. The official estimated date of the statue’s unveiling is now April 24th, and it is due to be torn down a week later.