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Protect Thomas Jefferson's Legacy at the University of Virginia

This petition had 2,005 supporters

Thomas Jefferson's legacy at the University of Virginia is under assault. University faculty members and students have recently submitted a letter with 469 signatures urging University President Theresa Sullivan to stop using Jefferson's quotes in messages to the UVa community on the basis that they communicate a "message of exclusion" due to Jefferson's ownership of slaves. We believe this focus on one horrible aspect of Jefferson's life wrongly ignores his many important contributions to human dignity and liberty. As a Founding Father of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson personified a view that was far from exclusionary:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Jefferson's life's work was courageous, contributed greatly to the advancement of human dignity and freedom across the world, and should be held in highest veneration at the University he founded. By submitting this petition, we wish to deliver the following message:

  • We respect and honor Thomas Jefferson's legacy at the University of Virginia, both as the University's founder and as a Founding Father of our great nation.
  • We acknowledge that Jefferson's ownership of slaves was hypocritical and wrong. But we also acknowledge that we can love Thomas Jefferson and honor his legacy without loving everything about him or the time in which he lived. 
  • We reject any and all calls to erase or diminish Jefferson's legacy at the University of Virginia in the name of political correctness, and we encourage President Teresa Sullivan and the Board of Visitors not to bow to such demands.

The letter advocating the censorship of Jefferson's legacy received 469 signatures. Our goal is to achieve at least 10x that number. We fully acknowledge Jefferson's faults and condemn them. However, we also believe that it is important to continue to honor his momentous contributions to the University, our country, and the world. To discredit these contributions in the name of political correctness would be a tragedy. Please sign and share if you agree.

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