The statue of Robert E. Lee was vandalized a few nights before Price’s announcement; in the recent wake of violent white nationalist rallies, many people are looking to remove such statues and monuments across the country. Price says,
“I took this course of action to protect Duke Chapel, to ensure the vital safety of students and community members who worship there, and above all to express the deep and abiding values of our university. The removal also presents an opportunity for us to learn and heal. The statue will be preserved so that students can study Duke’s complex past and take part in a more inclusive future.”
In studying Duke’s “complex past,” a commission has been created to “advise on next steps and to assist [Duke] in navigating the role of memory and history at Duke.” This commission will be comprised of Duke students, faculty, staff, alumni, and members within the community of Durham, North Carolina. A library exhibition of Duke’s controversial history, a discussion about injustice, and a forum on freedom of speech have all been planned for next school year.
With heightened tensions on free speech and the rise of radical white nationalism, it is nice seeing a university step forward and take educational charge towards unity and understanding. In the months to come, let’s hope other schools follow the precedent set by Duke.
(Photo courtesy of Joe Campbell)
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