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Hofstra Will Keep Its Jefferson Statue

June 1, 2018

Statue of Thomas Jefferson outside the Sondra and David S. Mack Student Center at Hofstra University.Hofstra University has announced that it will reject calls from some students to remove a statue of Thomas Jefferson from a prominent spot on campus. An online petition said that it was inappropriate to have a slave owner honored in this way.

A statement from Stuart Rabinowitz, president of the university, said that Jefferson and other early leaders of the country can be honored while also noting their flaws. "The founding fathers represent the duality of the American character and the difficulty of our history: freedom and oppression, equality and injustice, in issues of race, gender, religion and origin, that we have dealt with since our founding and will deal with for years to come. Yet in the documents most critical to our national character these men of their time laid out a vision of a world in which all people are created equal. It is this vision we celebrate and honor in our founding fathers, even as we wrestle with their human and indefensible failings," he said.

At the same time, Rabinowitz announced the appointment of a task force to "consider further dialogue and education about our founding fathers, the Atlantic slave trade and Western expansion; to think about what freedom and equality mean at the university; and to consider how we use history to advance understanding and build a better, more just world."

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