More than 100 professors at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia met online Wednesday night and decided to draft a petition demanding that the school remove all Confederate references from campus, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Professors at the Wednesday conference voiced concern over the university’s ties to Confederate symbols and plan to send a petition to the school’s president and board of trustees demanding the removal of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from the name of the institution by the end of June, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Washington and Lee University faculty discussed a resolution to remove all references to the Confederacy from the campus of the small liberal arts college in Lexington as well as to the school’s name. https://t.co/j6hotZlUsp
— Times-Dispatch (@RTDNEWS) June 25, 2020
“I will support it because it is an issue of moral responsibility and urgency to put to rest the university’s uncritical association with the Confederacy,” said university professor Dominica Radulescu, according to the Richmond Times. “It is anachronistic and it contradicts the very core values that the university is trying to uphold.”
The Richmond Times claimed that associate professor of economics and organizer of the group, Jim Casey, said that not one professor at the meeting objected to removing Lee’s name.
“We are aware of last night’s meeting of faculty to discuss a resolution, but nothing has been presented to the administration,” university Director of Media Affairs Drewry Sackett told the Daily Caller.
The professors’ conference discussion over the school’s Confederate legacy came after more than 3,000 people signed a petition to the school regarding its reaction to the events surrounding George Floyd’s death, according to the Richmond Times.
“Some of you have expressed the conflict you feel between your love of W&L and your concern about our prominent association with Robert E. Lee, whose presidency transformed the university, but who also led the Confederate army in defending slavery and has come to symbolize the defense of racial oppression that we unequivocally reject,” responded Will Dudley, Washington and Lee’s president, in a June 23 letter to the Washington and Lee community. (RELATED: US Army Is Now Considering Renaming Federal Bases That Honor Confederate Leaders)
Dudley instituted the “George Floyd Endowment for programming” and promised that the university will launch new enrollment initiatives targeting low-income and minority students. He also said that “admissions will expand by 33% the number of students we enroll through QuestBridge, a national nonprofit that connects the nation’s most exceptional, low-income youth with leading colleges and universities.”
Editor’s note: This article has been changed to accurately reflect that Washington and Lee will expand its enrollment of Questbridge applicants by 33%, not low-income students as a whole by 33%.