Bateman said the decision to remove the statue, located near Moore Hall, came after members of the college community expressed concern about having a Confederate statue on campus and pointed out it was erected in 1912 “when there was a rise of white supremacist sentiment in the nation.”
Bateman noted the college was not founded until 25 years after the Confederacy ended.
“The College has no connection to the Confederacy and, thus, the presence of a statue glorifying a Confederate soldier has no obvious place on our campus,” Bateman said. “On a separate note, the statue is not an accurate portrayal of Jones, as he was never a general or officer. He served the Confederate Army as a cook and only reached the rank of buck private.”
Bateman also said “a public dispute about the removal of the statue would have posed a very real risk to the physical safety of our campus community.”
The base of the statue remains in place. On it is the text, “In honor of George Morgan Jones whose suggestion and influential support was the first factor in creating Randolph-Macon Woman’s College.”
Bateman said he proposed to the executive committee that the statue be moved and paired with plaques that provide context about Jones.
“While we have no interest in celebrating anyone’s participation in the Confederacy, properly contextualized, the statue provides us the opportunity to more fully curate our history for future generations,” Bateman said.
This has been a breaking news update.