Durham, N.C. — Duke University President Vincent E. Price on Saturday morning authorized the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue from the entrance of the Duke University Chapel.
In a statement, Price said the decision to remove the statue, which was vandalized Wednesday night, was done to ensure the safety of students and community members and to express the university’s values.
“Wednesday night’s act of vandalism made clear that the turmoil and turbulence of recent months do not stop at Duke’s gates. We have a responsibility to come together as a community to determine how we can respond to this unrest in a way that demonstrates our firm commitment to justice,” Price said in a statement.
Price said that he plans to create a commission, including faculty, students, staff, alumni, trustees and members of the Durham community, to advise on how to memorialize individuals on the Duke campus in the future.
The university also plans to explore various aspects of its history over the next year through exhibitions,, conversations and forums.
“As this process moves forward, I welcome your thoughts about how Duke can best address the troubling events of the past few months, learn from a careful and unvarnished understanding of our national and institutional history and build a stronger, more inclusive future as a university community,” Price said.