US

Jefferson statue defaced with 'slave owner' graffiti

William & Mary is investigating the defacement of a Thomas Jefferson statue at the school after someone painted the hands red and wrote "slave owner" nearby.

University spokeswoman Suzanne Seurattan wrote in an email Tuesday that the school is determining how to remove the paint without leaving damage. The statue is near the heart of the Williamsburg campus.

Seurattan wrote that the school encourages civil discourse but that "it is never acceptable to deface property."

Brendan Thomas, a 20-year-old history major from Fayetteville, Arkansas, said he noticed the graffiti while walking to a dining hall on Saturday. A photo he shared on Facebook was picked up by The Daily Caller, a conservative website.

Thomas told The Associated Press that it's important to talk about Jefferson's history of owning slaves, even if it's uncomfortable.