CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - University of Virginia students explored the controversial past of Thomas Jefferson on Wednesday.

In partnership with historians at Monticello, students and faculty discussed the accomplishments and flaws of America’s third president.

Students compared Jefferson’s policies and thoughts to modern day leaders. Fourth year UVA student Elizabeth Forward says she’s heard a lot of different perspectives.

“I’ve always had professors giving an opinion and I wanted to create an intimate environment where students could ask their question that they’ve always had about Jefferson but also explore his context and what it means to the university today,” Forward said.

The group discussed how some of Jefferson’s words would be seen as racist in our day and age. They also talked about his participation in the Declaration of Independence.