Lincoln statue must go, article in Syracuse student newspaper argues

The Daily Orange recently published an article titled 'The Seated Lincoln statue does not represent SU’s current ethics' which calls for the removal of a statue of Abraham Lincoln.

The author writes that 'the ironic placement of Lincoln, cradled by a school that values citizenship, ethics and justice to promote the public good, is indeed, contradictory.'

Syracuse University’s (SU) student-led news outlet, The Daily Orange, recently published an article titled “The Seated Lincoln statue does not represent SU’s current ethics” which calls for the removal of a statue of Abraham Lincoln.

The statue of Lincoln is located outside of the Maxwell School of Citizenship at SU.

Author Dominic Zaffino, an MA student at SU, wrote in his Nov. 15 piece that “the ironic placement of Lincoln, cradled by a school that values citizenship, ethics and justice to promote the public good, is indeed, contradictory.”

Zaffino justifies his position by pointing to Lincoln’s ordering “the execution of thirty-eight Dakota natives for rebelling,” and “unbending belief in a racial hierarchy.”

The author does not mention the executions were ordered by Lincoln due to the Dakota natives massacring men, women, and children who had settled in the area.

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Although Zaffino acknowledges that Lincoln created positive changes in America, he nevertheless argues that “his presence and beliefs stand at odds with today’s public.”

He goes on to urge his fellow students not to replace the Lincoln statue, but rather to remove it completely in order to provide them “with an empty space that would mark a new beginning, for emptiness symbolizes freedom and possibility.”

When asked for comment, The Daily Orange’s editor-in-chief, Richard Perrins, informed Campus Reform that “The Daily Orange is a fully independent student newspaper and has no affiliation with the university or its stances.”

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In 2009, SU News released an article titled “A Different Lincoln,” which walks readers through the history behind the original Lincoln statue after which the one that sits in front of Maxwell Hall is modeled. 

The article explains James Earle Fraser’s reasoning behind creating the statue of Lincoln sitting pensively, markedly different from previous presidential statues.

“Fraser told the Christian Science Monitor, ‘I particularly wanted to make a sympathetic and human study of Lincoln. There are so many presidential Lincolns that I have hoped I might create something that would give an idea of his outdoor personality’,” the article relays.

Campus Reform reached out to Syracuse University and SU News for a comment but did not receive a response in time for publication. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @MadisonRehbehn