UW-Madison student gov votes to remove Lincoln statue, a 'remnant' of 'white supremacy'

The resolution states that the statue “serve[s] as remnants of this school’s history of white supremacy.”

The University of Wisconsin-Madison student government approved a resolution calling for the removal of a statue of Abraham Lincoln on campus.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison student government unanimously voted in favor of a resolution that calls for the removal of the Abraham Lincoln statue on campus.

In June, Campus Reform reported that UW-Madison would not remove the Lincoln statue despite students’ calls in favor of doing so. In September, a petition titled “BIPOC Demands for the University of Wisconsin-Madison” garnered more than 3,000 signatures. The first demand states, “Remove the Abraham Lincoln monument located at the top of Bascom Hill and replace it with someone who stands for the justice of all people.”

Students argue that President Lincoln was “anti-Black,” “anti-Native” and “not pro-Black.”

Following these calls to remove the statue, a resolution was introduced to the Associated Students of Madison (ASM) Student Council advocating for the removal of the Lincoln statue on campus.

The resolution states that the statue should be removed and replaced because it “serve[s] as remnants of this school’s history of white supremacy.”

“In order to create an inclusive and safe environment for all students, campus fixtures with racist remnants should be reevaluated and then removed and/or replaced based on inputs from BIPOC students,” the resolution states.

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When asked how the statue serves as a “remnant” of “white supremacy,” Shared Governance Campaign Director for ASM and co-sponsor of the resolution Kevin Jacobson told Campus Reform that the statue “sits at the top of Bascom Hill, a Native American burial mound. Abraham Lincoln is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Native Americans over the course of his presidency.”

“It was also donated by Richard Lloyd Jones whose newspaper was responsible for inciting the Tulsa Race Riots which resulted in the deaths of 36 people and over 800 injuries mostly against Black residents,” Jacobson continued. “We are advocating for the university to listen to the BIPOC students and have conversations about these remnants.”

Equity & inclusion committee chair of ASM Brandon Springer also told Campus Reform that Lincoln’s “legacy” allows for white supremacy to have a role on campus.

“Lincoln’s legacy has changed as we start to call out history and although Lincoln might not have directly pushed a white supremacy agenda on campus, his legacy still allows for issues rooted in white supremacy to exist on campus,” Springer said.

Springer told Campus Reform that the “measure was passed by unanimous consent, so there was not a present member that voted against the legislation as approved.”

UW-Madison senior Evan Karabas told Campus Reform that the statue is a “cherished symbol” on campus and doesn’t want to see it removed.

“The statue has been a cherished symbol on campus for generations. Many would agree that the most significant part of President Lincoln’s legacy was securing freedom for the slaves, and we should celebrate that as a proud moment in our country’s history,” Karabas said.

The resolution also demands a “permanent funding structure” for student organizations that are catered towards “predominantly marginalized groups.”

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The main sponsor of the resolution, Crystal Zhao, told Campus Reform that even though the vote was unanimous, “not all representatives in ASM agree that Abraham Lincoln Statue should be removed.”

“With that said, Abraham Lincoln is a representation of ethnic cleansing of indigenous folks and the fact that UW-Madison stands on stolen land. Many students do not feel comfortable seeing him every day when we used to walk to classes. And his presence on Bascom shows that UW-Madison does not care about the ‘shared future’ plan we have with Ho-Chuck people and other first nations,” Zhao continued.

Karabas told Campus Reform that the result of the vote was “extremely disappointing but not at all surprising.” He added that the decision does not reflect the student body because the student government has “largely failed to connect” with the majority of students.

The College Republicans started a petition in support of keeping the statue where it is. 

Karabas told Campus Reform that it has amassed more than 1,500 signatures.

“This resolution is the result of a generation of students who have not learned even the most basic history of our country. Instead, they have been manipulated by professors, social media echo chambers, leftist media, and groupthink into developing a bitter hatred for the United States and its people. All they’ve been taught to do is destroy, without questioning the motives of those who are inciting the destruction,” Karabas concluded.

UW-Madison Director of News and Media Relations Meredith Mcglone told Campus Reform that the university stands by its June statement  from Chancellor Rebecca Blank on the matter, which expresses that the statue will not be removed.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @redwave1776