In light of the violence and controversy of the August Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia—an event where those challenging the tearing down of a Robert E. Lee statue clashed with Antifa opposition—the University of Virginia is taking steps to separate itself from anything president Teresa Sullivan deems associated with that march, which she describes as “something darker and more depraved, disguised as a protest.”
To this end, U of V has decided to remove Confederate plaques from its rotunda. According to the college’s Board of Visitors, the tablets will be placed in a new location “where they may be preserved as artifacts of the era in which they were erected, and utilized to provide context to the history of the University.”
The bronze plates, which have been on display in the school’s Thomas Jefferson-designed National Historic Landmark since 1903, serve to honor Civil War-era students and alumni who died while fighting for the Confederacy.
The relocation of the plaques comes as a response to a petition from students also demanding the hiring of more black faculty and the increased admission of black students, as well as required classes about white supremacy.
Moreover, the university is donating $12,500—an amount adjusted for inflation to reflect a $1,000 never-paid pledge the school accepted from the KKK in 1921—to the Charlottesville Patient Support Fund, which helps pay for medical expenses incurred by those harmed at the August rally.
Furthermore, the school has voted to ban the presence of fire. Open flames will no longer be tolerated on campus due to the use of tiki torches by Charlottesville white nationalists who chanted “Jews will not replace us” and the Nazi slogan, “Blood and soil.”
“What we absolutely cannot do,” Sullivan says, “is allow the practice of free expression to cross the line into intimidation and violence and all-out attack on UVA and its people, as it did on August 11th. We must and will take all necessary steps to prevent that escalation.”
Apparently, preventing that escalation includes sheltering their students from not only Civil War history, but also the mere sight of fire, which is now associated with white supremacy.
It’s just as well, though— fire probably reminds them of global warming.