A group of law students, calling themselves “The Committee,” at Washington & Lee University have submitted a list of demands to the Board of Trustees, calling for the removal of all confederate flags from campus and the recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The private Virginia university was originally named Washington College after George Washington. Following the Civil War, Confederate leader Robert E. Lee served as president of the college for five years before his death. The school was then renamed Washington & Lee.
The Lee Chapel, which is located on campus, displays the different Confederate flags and is rented for use by a private group each year on Lee-Jackson Day.
The Committee said their mission “is to create a community that welcomes students of color and to free those students from the psychological shackles that currently exist within Washington and Lee University.” The group calls for immediate action toward their listed demands:
Here is a list of the FOUR DEMANDS:
1. We demand that the University fully recognize Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on the undergraduate campus.
2. We demand that the University stop allowing neo-confederates to march on campus with confederate flags on Lee-Jackson Day.
3. We demand that the University immediately remove all confederate flags from its property and premises, including those flags located within Lee Chapel.
4. We demand that the University issue an official apology for the University’s participation in chattel slavery, including a denunciation of General Robert E. Lee’s participation in slavery.
The group vowed to engage in civil disobedience should their demands not be met by September.
The university’s president, Ken Ruscio, responded Wednesday and agreed to meet with the group, reports The News-Gazette.
The meeting will include members of the University Committee on Inclusiveness and Campus Climate (UCICC), who Ruscio says have been working on some of the same issues brought up by The Committee.
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