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University of Virginia president condemns anti-Jefferson protests

A group of protesters stand in front of the Rotunda at the University of Virginia for the one month anniversary of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. The group circled around the statue of Thomas Jefferson before covering it with black tarp and listing demands for the university. (Zack Wajsgras/The Daily Progress via AP)

By Sean Langille, Washington Examiner

University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan on Wednesday rebuked protesters who covered a statue of the the university’s founder, Thomas Jefferson, with a black tarp with placards that called him a “racist and rapist.”

“They shrouded the Jefferson statue, desecrating ground that many of us consider sacred,” Sullivan said in a letter to parents and alumni. “I strongly disagree with the protesters’ decision to cover the Jefferson statue.”

Dozens of students joined a protest led by Black Lives Matter Tuesday evening exactly one month after a white supremacist rally resulted in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer and two state police officers. The protesters scaled the statue and displayed a placard that read “TJ is a racist and rapist.” They later marched and chanted “no Trump, no KKK, no racist U.Va.,” around the Charlottesville campus.

Sullivan said Jefferson was a firm believer in freedom of speech and was no stranger to harsh media criticism in his time and that activism at the university he founded should come as no surprise.

Read more on the Washington Examiner.

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