A statue of Thomas Jefferson was vandalized on the campus of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, Virginia, with graffiti calling him a “racist” and “rapist.”
The statue depicting our third president in a seated position was spray-painted with the graffiti in the early morning hours of April 13, according to NBC 29.
The attack on the statue coincided with the school’s Founder’s Day event celebrating the 275th birthday of the author of the Declaration of Independence and the school’s founder. Jefferson founded the University of Virginia at Charlottesville in 1819.
DEVELOPING OVERNIGHT: Sitting statue of Thomas Jefferson on the Lawn at UVA has been vandalized. "Racist + Rapist" are spray painted on the statue. pic.twitter.com/MTwBmZhIqS
— NBC29 (@NBC29) April 13, 2018
University administrators released a statement saying, in part, “The university is disappointed that individuals vandalized the statue of Thomas Jefferson on the Lawn on the day that we honor his contributions to our University and to our democracy.”
Officials and police are asking anyone with information on the vandalism to call UPD at 434-924-7166.
The University’s statement reads in full:
The university is disappointed that individuals vandalized the statue of Thomas Jefferson on the Lawn on the day that we honor his contributions to our University and to our democracy.
The university recognizes the complexities of Thomas Jefferson’s legacy and continues to explore them fully and honestly.
UVA welcomes open and civil discourse on such important issues. However, acts of vandalism do not contribute to meaningful discussion.
Crews from Facilities Management are removing the vandalism, and the University Police Department is investigating the incident.
Friday’s attack is far from the first time activists have attacked the statue.
Last September, a large contingent of Black Lives Matter activists shrouded the statue in black plastic while carrying banners and signs accusing Jefferson of being a “racist” and “rapist.”
While Jefferson was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, the famed document issued to inform England of the basis for our revolution and a document that states “all men are created equal,” the man who would later become our third president was a slave owner. Activists have also accused Jefferson of fathering children with one of his slaves, but few historians or geneticists have proven the charge.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.