The University of Virginia’s statue of George Rogers Clark has been vandalized.
In a news release, UVa police wrote that red paint was splashed across the statue overnight. The vandalism was discovered around 5:23 a.m. Monday and no suspects have been identified.
The statue has been the subject of criticism in recent years, and, in 2019, a petition circulated requesting its removal.
Clark, who was born in Albemarle County, was a general who fought Native American tribes as the U.S. expanded westward following the Revolutionary War.
The statue sits at the intersection of West Main Street and Jefferson Park Avenue. It describes Clark as the “Conqueror of the Northwest,” showing him on a horse as a Native American family cowers in fear and one of Clark’s men circles around the horse wielding a gun.
Last week, UVa’s Racial Equity Task Force released a report outlining 12 key initiatives to improve racial equity at the university. One of the proposed initiatives is to fund a tribal liaison “who can guide the process of re-visioning the space where the George Rogers Clark statue currently stands.”
As part of the re-visioning, the task force recommends removing the statue from its current location, which the report describes as “an important opportunity for UVa to actively build relationships of trust with Virginia Tribes and Indigenous communities.”
The equity task force’s report was on the agenda of a UVa Board of Visitors meeting scheduled for Monday, but the meeting was canceled late last week.