Duke University took down a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee early Saturday, just days after it was vandalized amid growing protests in the city over the racially charged monuments. In a statement released Saturday morning, Duke University President Vincent E. Price said he’d made the decision “to ensure the vital safety of students and community members who worship there, and above all to express the deep and abiding values of our university.” The statue, which sat at the entrance to Duke Chapel, will be “preserved so that students can study Duke’s complex past and take part in a more inclusive future,” Price said. The statue was defaced late Wednesday, just two days after another Confederate-era monument in the city was torn down by protesters. Durham, where the university is located, has seen a wave of protests after a violent protest in Charlottesville last weekend—also over a monument to Robert E. Lee—left one woman dead and triggered heated debate over the role of Confederate-era statues in the country.
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