Hofstra University Students Want Thomas Jefferson Statue Removed, Saying It Represents Racism And Slavery

Hofstra University Students Want Thomas Jefferson Statue Removed, Saying It Represents Racism And Slavery

The statue has been a subject to protests and vandalism in the past - while some of the students also ended up defacing it with “DECOLONIZE” and “Black Lives Matter” slogans.

Educational centers have been known to try to stay close to the status quo. Lately, the revelations about alleged biased behavior from elite universities, and their racist history have been a cause for students to be careful what symbols they end up representing. 



 

Student activists at Long Island’s Hofstra University are demanding the removal of a statue of Thomas Jefferson due to his image representing “racism and slavery.” According to Campus Reform, the student activists gathered in late March for the second time in the annual “Jefferson Has Gotta Go!” event. 

The statue has been a subject to protests and vandalism in the past - while some of the students also ended up defacing it with “DECOLONIZE” and “Black Lives Matter” slogans. 



 

Last year, a Change.org petition was created calling for the statue’s removal, stating that “Jefferson’s values aided in the construction of institutionalized racism and justified the subjugation of black people in the United States.” 

Miranda Pino, a former College Democrats executive board member, told Campus Reform that this isn’t just about a statue of Jefferson. “Yes, the removal of the state is important,” she said. “But it is about what the statue represents: a legacy of racism and bigotry on college campuses.” 



 

The statue, which was vandalized last year, stands outside of Hofstra’s student center. A petition last year was launched urging to move the Founding Father’s statue to a museum with proper context rather than display it “on a college campus, especially not in front of a hub of student life.”



 

“Jefferson’s values aided in the construction of institutionalized racism and justified the subjugation of black people in the United States,” the petition read. “Jefferson has been embraced as an icon by white supremacist and neo-nazi organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan and online white supremacist chat rooms.” 

The group said its goal was to “expose the culture of bias and discrimination” and to demand “the statue of Thomas Jefferson is removed,” according to Campus Reform.



 

Hofstra College Democrats told the campus watchdog that they too “want the statue to be removed and [we] stand with the Jefferson Has Gotta Go Campaign.”

But the protesters are going further than just calling for removal of the statue. They are also demanding “an online, bias reporting system, an online complaint receipt program, and mandated, comprehensive, cultural competency training.” 



 

The university hasn’t yet caved to the protesters’ demands, though last year the administration reportedly announced an intention to create a task force that would foster dialogue and education on “founding fathers, the Atlantic slave trade and Western expansion; to think about what freedom and equality mean at the University.” 

This is not the only group of students who are trying to disengage from 'questionable' history. Students are George Washington University voted last month to replace the school’s athletics nickname, the Colonials, to something less “offensive”. 



 

Fifty-four percent of students who voted in the Student Association elections approved a referendum to replace the name, according to the student newspaper, The GW Hatchet. Students launched a petition in the spring of 2018, urging university officials to listen to their concerns over the negative connotations of the nickname, which has been used since the fall of 1926.

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