A statue of Thomas Jefferson was vandalized at the University of Virginia Friday, the day college the celebrates its founder each year. The words “racist + rapist” were spray-painted in red letters on the base of the statue.
The incident is not the first time Virginia students have demonstrated an objection to a Jefferson statue. In September, students wrapped a statue of Jefferson in black during a protest condemning the college’s handling of white nationalist rallies held in Charlottesville, Va., several weeks prior.
The university expressed disappointment that individuals defaced the Jefferson statue on a day intended to commemorate him. Anthony de Bruyn, a college spokesperson, told The Washington Post Friday that “the university recognizes the complexities of Thomas Jefferson’s legacy and continues to explore them fully and honestly. UVA welcomes open and civil discourse on such important issues. However, acts of vandalism do not contribute to meaningful discussion.”
The university's facilities management team were removing the words, de Bruyn said. The college police department is investigating the incident.