Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Security added following defacing and attempted removal of Jefferson statue at William & Mary

The Thomas Jefferson statue on William & Mary campus.(WYDaily/Flickr)
The Thomas Jefferson statue on William & Mary campus.(WYDaily/Flickr)  

William & Mary has placed extra security from the college’s police department around the Thomas Jefferson statue after it was defaced.

There also was an attempt made to remove the statue, said Suzanne Clavet, spokeswoman for the college. 

The statue, located on Washington Hall and McGlothlin-Street Hall, was defaced June 11 with water-based paint-like substance. There were no distinct markings or lettering from the incident, Clavet said.

Then on June 15, individuals attempted to pull down the statue with a heavy-duty strap. Those involved have been identified but no criminal charges were filed.

Clavet said while incidents involving the statues have occurred in the past, it is not a regular occurrence and the two incidents are the first this year.

University officials felt it prudent to add an extra security officer on campus overnight that would patrol the area. The officer was designated to the area for six nights.

The additional officer was available during that time to assist in other locations if needed. 

“Added security or directed patrols will be used anytime there is a public safety concern on campus where people or property could be in danger,” Clavet wrote in an email. 

All scheduled police and security officers are initially assigned to specific duties and then redeployed across campus as needed.

The Thomas Jefferson statue has been a feature on campus since it was donated by the University of Virginia in 1992, according to William & Mary’s website. The donation was made to make up for Jefferson’s $17,000 debt to William & Mary, which caused William & Mary to close shortly in the 1880s.

Jefferson, the third president of the United States, was a slave owner. Across Virginia, statues of former slave owners are being defaced and questioned in light of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Last week, the college started a new work group that will examine the campus landscape and how it portrays the institution’s history of slavery and racism. 


Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doironhttp://wydaily.com
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at alexa@localvoicemedia.com.

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