Washington & Lee students walk out of class, demand the school change its name
At least 200 students walked out of class to demand that Washington and Lee change its name.
The students are demanding the school strip "Lee" from its name.
Washington and Lee is named for George Washington and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Students at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia are demanding that the school remove "Lee" from its name to promote racial equity, according to a local report.
On March 23, at least 200 students, many clad in t-shirts and face masks staged a walkout, protesting for what sophomore Amber Morrison called the university's "second chance to be on the right side of history."
"We will only be made better by creating a more inclusive campus," she said, "A lot of students feel like there's no point arguing because we don't have the support and we don't have the people, but we do, and I think this really shows that."
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Another student, Clara Albacete, said Washington & Lee University, whose Board of Trustees will not meet to review its name until May, will become an accomplice to racial injustice if it doesn't accede to the protesters' demand.
"Inaction is complacency," she shouted, "inaction allows for the continuation of abuses until someone finally stands up and says: Enough!"
At the protest, Kamron Spivey represented one of the only voices arguing for preserving Lee's name.
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"It's unfortunate, in my opinion, that the name [of Washington and Lee University] is probably going to change," he told WDBJ7 news on March 23, "I don't expect it to stay the same by 2024."
"I expressed my views to some people," Spivey also said, "Some people didn't want to hear my views, which is fine."
Not every effort to erase a controversial American figure from a college campus is successful, as Campus Reform has reported before. In June 2020, University of Missouri System President Mun Choi refused to dismount a statue depicting Thomas Jefferson writing the opening lines of the Declaration of Independence.
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"We don't remove history," he said in a statement establishing the university's policy on statues and monuments of controversial historical figures.
Campus Reform reached out to Washington & Lee University for comment. This story will be updated accordingly.
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