UVA president criticizes Jefferson statue shroudingSeptember 14, 2017 1:09am

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Protesters who draped a black shroud over a statue of Thomas Jefferson at the University of Virginia were "desecrating" ground many people consider "sacred," the president of the Charlottesville college said Wednesday.

UVA President Teresa Sullivan sent separate statements to the university community and to alumni after dozens of protesters gathered on campus Tuesday night to protest the university's response to white nationalist rallies this summer.

The demonstrators covered the statue of Jefferson, the third president of the United States and UVA's founder, and put up signs that called him a "rapist" and "racist," The Daily Progress reported .

The statue stands in front of the Rotunda, which Jefferson designed and where white nationalists carrying tiki torches clashed with counter-demonstrators just over a month ago. That march on campus was followed the next day by a larger rally in downtown Charlottesville that descended into violence.

Sullivan said she strongly disagreed with the demonstrators' decision to shroud the statue, writing in the statement sent to alumni that they were "desecrating" ground that "many of us consider sacred." One person was arrested for public intoxication and the shroud has since been removed, she said.

She wrote that Jefferson was a slave owner and that the university was dependent on slavery in its early years. Many historians also say Jefferson likely fathered six children with one of his slaves, Sally Hemings.

But Sullivan said Jefferson also "made many contributions to the progress of the early American Republic: he served as the third President of the United States, championed religious freedom, and authored the Declaration of Independence."

The university has "acknowledged its controversial history," though there is "more work to be done," she wrote.

The protesters called for the university to meet demands issued by the Black Student Alliance and other organizations after the white nationalist rallies, including the removal of Confederate plaques on the Rotunda and the addition of context to the Jefferson statue.

In a statement late Wednesday night, the Black Student Alliance said Sullivan's "sacred" ground comment showed "the need to continue to balance the historical landscape at UVA in order to make it inclusive for all groups."

It is "unlikely that the hundreds of slaves who built the space and worked there ever considered it sacred," the statement said.

A group of university leaders is reviewing UVA's response to the August rallies, and the college has also hired an outside firm to conduct a separate review.

___

This item has been updated to correct that the university did not remove the shroud. The university says it dispatched workers to remove the covering, but it was already gone when they arrived.

___

Information from: The Daily Progress, http://www.dailyprogress.com

Page 1 of 1

More Stories Like This

FILE-In this Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017, file photo, city workers drape a tarp over the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Emancipation park in Charlottesville, Va. Officials in Charlottesville  are trying to stop people from ripping down tarps that cover statues of Confederate generals. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)
Tarps covering Confederate statues are being ripped down
FILE - In this an. 28, 2016 file photo, South Dakota Republican state Rep. Lynne DiSanto testifies in a state House committee at the Capitol in Pierre, S.D. DiSanto has apologized for a Facebook post where she shared a meme Sept. 7, 2017, depicting protesters being hit by a vehicle. It was posted less than a month after a driver rammed through counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va.,  killing a woman. (AP Photo/James Nord, File)
South Dakota lawmaker apologizes for Facebook post
SD lawmaker shares image depicting protesters hit by vehicleA Republican South Dakota legislator is coming under fire for a meme she shared on her Facebook page showing protesters being hit by a vehicle
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson holds a press conference at city hall on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, in St. Louis. Several hundred people gathered on a hot, unshaded public plaza for an interfaith service followed by a march to City Hall. The service came after four days of protests that followed a judge's decision Friday to acquit former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith.  (David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)
New St. Louis mayor navigates racial strife after acquittal
Assignment asking students to role play as KKK sparks angerA South Carolina elementary school teacher who asked students to role play as Ku Klux Klan members for a homework assignment has been placed on administrative leave
A statue of Benjamin Ryan Tillman is seen on the grounds of the state capitol, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, at in Columbia, S.C. One Statehouse monument some have called for removing or changing is a statue of Tillman, governor from 1890 to 1894 and then a U.S. senator. Two South Carolina senators called Wednesday for a statue of Robert Smalls, who in 1862 hijacked a Confederate supply ship, steered his family to freedom and turned the boat over to the Union. (AP Photo/Seanna Adcox)
South Carolina: Call for a monument to black Civil War hero
This component is currently unavailable.
AdChoices

Related Searches

Related Searches

AdChoices