Pepperdine University donates Columbus statue to Thomas Aquinas College

Pepperdine students said statue represented white supremacy, genocide and oppression; Thomas Aquinas College says Columbus’ accomplishments merit celebration

Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California. (from

A little over two years ago, Pepperdine University made the decision to take down a statue of Christopher Columbus after student outcry, with its president at the time calling the monument a “painful reminder” of the past.

The private, Malibu-based university said it would relocate the statue to its campus in Florence, Italy.

But somewhat quietly last fall, Pepperdine officials gave the statue to its Catholic neighbor up the road. The 25-year-old monument now calls Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California, home. The Catholic campus is about 50 miles north of Pepperdine, roughly a 90-minute drive.

In response to repeated inquiries over the last week regarding the statue’s status, the Pepperdine public relations department finally responded to The College Fix late Wednesday.

“Last year Pepperdine announced a plan to relocate a statue of Christopher Columbus from the Malibu campus to the University’s campus in Florence, Italy. As preparations were being made for the relocation, Pepperdine was presented with an opportunity for the statue to be donated to Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California,” according to the statement.

“After much consideration, Pepperdine accepted the offer, and the statue is now located on the Thomas Aquinas campus. The University is grateful for our friendship with Thomas Aquinas, and we remain committed to nurturing a campus community that welcomes a variety of perspectives and the free exchange of ideas.”

In contrast to Pepperdine leaders washing their hands of the statue after student activists said it represented white supremacy, genocide and oppression, Thomas Aquinas College officials have embraced Columbus and put criticism of the explorer in context.

In welcoming the statue to campus in October, Aquinas officials declared it would be the “centerpiece” of a new garden under construction on campus.

“Only a college like this college, which understands history, which reads the books of the past as very instructive to what we should be and how we should be,” would be a good fit for the statue, College Governor Robert Barbera said at the time.

Added Thomas Aquinas College President Michael McLean: “Mr. Barbera’s statue needed a worthy home, and we are happy to provide one. Columbus was both a great explorer and devoted to the Catholic faith. So we placed his statue next to the Albertus Magnus Science Building (that’s the explorer part), and it points toward the Chapel (that’s the Catholic faith part).”

Full story at The College Fix.


  1. Seems a lot easier and cheaper to ship the statue fifty miles rather than sending it to Italy.

  2. Every statue is controversial in some way since people have been killing each other for one reason or another since the world began. The American Indians were killing each other before the Europeans and others came here. Some European tribes do not like each, and some American Indian tribes do not really like each either, unless they want to gang up on another race for some reason. Some Africans sold other Africans into slavery, and Joseph’s Israelite brothers sold him into slavery.

    • Well said. Good show. Truth be told.

      • My point was that is hard to figure out who is the “oppressor” and who is the “oppressed” at times? The author Louie D’ Amour mentions how one Native American tribe sold another tribe’s land to a group of white settlers, and got the settlers in trouble with the tribe that actually owned the land. “Forked tongues” come in many colors.

  3. Anonymous says

    So Pepperdine has sold out too huh?

  4. Political correctness has not failed to stupefy presumably Protestant Christians up at Pepperdine. In fact, one reads of Protestant Christian schools just as ill-conditioned as some of our own Catholic ones. Let’s face it, the culture wars are being won by the left with the blessing of the media, Hollywood and sadly, many churches once vibrant with missionary zeal for Christ. As long as the LBGT/SJW juggernaut cuts large swaths through the cultural countryside and determines the rules of the contest, the marginalization of Christian witness will proceed to the point of outright hatred and persecution.

  5. As they say, let you who have not sinned cast the first stone.

  6. Love the Aquinas line that they read books…suggesting Pepperdine reads Twitter.

  7. Hector Y Cristina Gutierrez says

    Obiously the students at Pepperdine do not know History, Columbus never came to the West coast to beging with. Columbus brought Christianity to the New World which I believe Pepperdine is part of, By erasing Columbus as a Great Navigator all you doing is not leaving anything to future generations to remember what happened in America. If the concern is so great about the Columbus do not forget the Admiral that was with Columbus was “Americo” Vespusi and that’s why we are call “Americans” in his honor. Now if you want to talk about geonice of the Indigenous people let’s start with the &th of cavalry under General Custer to exteminate all the Indians, The killing of all buffalos and U S government putting all Indiand in Reservations.

    • Anonymous says

      Vespucci discovered that North and South America were two different continents, not part of Asia as Columbus thought. He sailed for “America” nearly ten years after Columbus.

    • You’ve been reading Pepperdine’s history books again (or Mexico’s?). Sorry, no genocide. In the drive to pacify these merciless well-armed stone agers in the Plains Wars, 3 soldiers were lost for every Indian killed, and higher numbers of settlers.

      Massacres were Indian on Indian and pioneer (men, women, children). Custer and his men were massacred – beheadings, dismemberments, castrations; and mutilations so hideous, their description would not pass CC moderator approval.

  8. helen wheels says

    i heard it was really a statue
    of Lieutenant Columbo

    • That has my vote for sure. By the way the actor who played Columbo was Jewish. Had me fooled. Thought all along he was of Italian extraction Maybe he was descended from Italian Jews — a double winner.

  9. helen wheels says

    anne te:
    “Excuse me. Am I botherin” you?”

    • Anne TE. says

      The real mystery was trying to figure out what Columbo’s wife looked like. I always thought of her as having dark hair, but she might have been a northern Italian blonde. I do not remember if the sitcom ever said what color hair she had.

  10. helen wheels says

    We won’t hold her hair color against her
    as long as she didn’t rape, pillage & burn
    the Native Americans as apparently the
    Pepperdine student body (mistakenly)
    believes about Christopher Columbus.
    (and probably about lieutenant Colombo as well)
    Cheers !

  11. Given the ill wind blowing in Rome, Aquinas may want to make inquiries on the Pietà. You never know. You just never know.

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