The University of Virginia’s president had harsh words for the students who wrapped the Thomas Jefferson monument in a black shroud and plastered it with “Black Lives Matter” signs on Tuesday.
In an email sent on Wednesday to alumni and friends of the college, Teresa Sullivan said the student protesters were “desecrating ground that many of us consider sacred.”
“I strongly disagree with the protesters’ decision to cover the Jefferson statue. I also recognize the rights of those present at the protest to express their emotions and opinions regarding the recent horrific events that occurred on our grounds and in Charlottesville,” Sullivan said in a statement posted online.
As Fox News previously reported, several dozen students showed up to the protest and some people climbed atop the monument and hoisted signs calling Jefferson, a founder of the university and a Founding Father, a "racist" and "rapist." Students also reportedly chanted "No Trump, No KKK, no racist U-V-A.”
Sullivan noted Jefferson’s championing of religious freedom and his authoring of the Declaration of Independence.
“In its early days, the University of Virginia was dependent upon the institution of slavery. Enslaved people not only built its buildings, but also served in a wide variety of capacities for UVA’s first 50 years of existence. After gaining freedom, African Americans continued to work for the university, but they were not allowed to enroll as students until the mid-twentieth century.”
The large public research university was founded in 1819 and was designated by UNESCO as America's first and only collegiate world heritage site.