UVA Board of Visitors votes to remove George Rogers Clark statue from the corner

UVA Board of Visitors votes to remove George Rogers Clark statue from the corner

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The George Rogers Clark statue on the University of Virginia corner will be leaving Charlottesville.

The UVA Board of Visitors voted Friday, September 11, to take the monument down.

Several activist groups and experts say it glorifies the violence against Native Americans.

Clark was born in Albemarle County and is dubbed the ‘conqueror of the northwest’ on the statue’s base.

The Board of Visitors also announced that the statue of Thomas Jefferson in front of the rotunda will be contextualized, and the Whispering Wall will either undergo a rededication or removal. President Jim Ryan called it a Confederate memorial.

“This moment offers us a unique opportunity to take actions that will leave a lasting and positive impact on the university that we all love,” Ryan said.

Other physical changes to the university include stripping the names of slave owners JLM Curry and Henry Malcolm Withers from buildings.

The board also endorsed several goals presented by the newly formed Racial Equity Task Force. This includes a doubling of underrepresented faculty by 2030 and developing a plan to have a more diverse student body.

“As a general matter thinking about a North Star of what would you like UVA to look like 10 years from now,” Ryan said, “UVA looking more like, especially at the undergraduate level, the demographics of Virginia doesn’t seem to me like a bad goal.”

A ‘thorough review’ of University Police practices is also expected, as well as the forming of the Department of Safety and Security Advisory Council.

“It will focus very heavily on helping the department look at policies procedures training systems of accountability community and student engagement with the police department,” said UVA Police Chief Tim Longo.

The board met in person, as many UVA students did for classes this week although there have been 276 COVID-19 cases among students since mid-August.

“I maintain confidence in our students, confidence that everyone on this board shares with me," said Rector James Murray. "I think we’ve given our students all the tools we have at our disposal we trust that they’re going to use those tools and make us all proud”

Murray also encouraged students to download the COVIDWise app, the exposure notification tool from the Virginia Department of Health.

Copyright 2020 WVIR. All rights reserved.