DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University President Vincent E. Price has authorized the removal of the Robert E. Lee status from the entrance of the Duke Chapel, he announced in a letter Saturday morning.
Price said he consulted with a number of students, faculty, staff and alumni before he made the decision and had “strong support” from the Board of Trustees.
“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,” Price said. “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.”
On August 17, someone damaged the face of the statue of the Confederate general.
“We have a responsibility to come together as a community to determine how we can respond to this unrest in a way that demonstrates our firm commitment to justice, not discrimination; to civil protest, not violence; to authentic dialogue, not rhetoric; and to empathy, not hatred,” Price added.
The Robert E. Lee statue is one of 10 historical figures on the outside of the chapel.