Officials at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York, issued a statement confirming that two of its students were arrested in connection of the vandalism of a statue of Frederick Douglass. The statue was erected earlier this year at the site where Douglass had enrolled his daughter in a seminary. It is one of 13 statutes in the Rochester area marking areas of significance relating to Douglass’ time in Rochester.
The students, both football players at the college, reportedly were yelling racial slurs when they pulled down the statue. The students denied yelling slurs and stated that they did not know who the statue represented, according to local news sources. The students have been suspended, pending a full investigation.
In a statement, Gerald Rooney, president of St. John Fisher College, said that “we share the outrage that members of the Rochester community feel about this incident. We recognize the need to redouble our efforts to promote these values and expectations and continue to educate our campus community around issues of diversity and race.”
St. Jon Fisher College enrolls about 2,750 undergraduate students and just over 1,000 graduate students, according to the latest data supplied to the U.S. Department of Education. African Americans make up 4 percent of the undergraduate student body.