A statue of Thomas Jefferson located on the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville was vandalized over the weekend. Today UVA police confirmed they were investigating the incident. From the Daily Progress:
Authorities said they received a report about the vandalism at 3:20 a.m. Sunday. Police would not confirm the investigation until Thursday morning.
The statue appeared to have been splashed with red paint. University workers were spotted cleaning the statue on Sunday morning.
Here’s an image of the vandalism before it was cleaned up Sunday morning:
— Dean Seal (@JDeanSeal) August 24, 2017
On Monday, after the vandalism was discovered and cleaned up, a coalition of progressive student groups issued a list of demands which included a reference to Jefferson’s statue. “The statue of Jefferson serves as an emblem of white supremacy, and should be re-contextualized with a plaque to include that history,” the documents states. If Jefferson is an “emblem of white supremacy” why not take the monument down? I suspect the answer is that even progressive students know that wouldn’t fly on the campus Jefferson founded. Also, there are several statues of Jefferson on the UVA campus so removing one wouldn’t be enough.
Earlier this week the Trust for the National Mall announced it was planning an exhibit beneath the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. which would highlight Jefferson’s slave ownership:
The memorial to Thomas Jefferson in Washington is almost certainly safe. But The Trust for the National Mall, a nonprofit partner of the National Park Service, is planning an exhibit update—one that’s been in the works for months…
Kate Greenberg, vice president of marketing and communications for The Trust, told Fox News that after the violence in Charlottesville, “it became clear to us that some of that discussion would spill onto the National Mall.”
She said Jefferson is “one of the most obvious because of his complexity,” noting his history as a founding father but also a slave owner.
Last week, during a contentious press conference, President Trump suggested protesters would next seek to remove statues of Presidents Washington and Jefferson, noting that they were both slave owners.