MU will not remove statue of Thomas Jefferson from Francis Quadrangle
COLUMBIA - University of Missouri leaders announced they will not order the removal of a statue of Thomas Jefferson on Francis Quadrangle, after a petition calling for its removal garnered more than 3,000 signatures.
According to a statement from MU, President Mun Choi, along with several curators and administrators, met with leaders of the Legion of Black Collegians on Thursday. They also met with Roman Leapheart, the student who circulated the petition.
“The conversation was an example of the power of civil discourse and included discussion of complex issues and different perspectives,” Choi said in the statement. “After further discussion with other curators, the university decided not to remove the Jefferson statue. We learn from history. We contextualize historical figures with complex legacies. We don’t remove history. We are committed to maintaining open lines of communication, including continuing conversations and learning from all involved.”
The statement said Choi recommended university faculty and students explore how MU can contextualize Thomas Jefferson.
In an earlier interview with KOMU 8 News, Leaphart said the statue bothered him because of Jefferson's ties to slavery. Jefferson owned hundreds of slaves during his lifetime.