Law Students Ask That the Image of Robert E. Lee Not Appear on Their Diplomas

A large group of current students, alumni, and faculty members of the Washington and Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Virginia, have started a petition asking the university’s administration to give graduating students the option of not having the images of George Washington and Robert E. Lee on their diplomas.

“The goal of establishing this option is to create a diploma that alumni are proud to prominently display in their homes and places of work,” the petition states. It goes on to say “we are not asking for a mandatory change to the diplomas, but rather the option to have a diploma without portraits.”

The petition has been endorsed by Robert W. Lee IV, a pastor and a descendant of the Confederate general, who is buried on the campus of Washington and Lee University. In a letter to the university’s board of trustees supporting the petition, Rev. Lee wrote: “It is clear that in times of moral uncertainty, we do not cling to the racism, bigotry and white supremacy for which the Confederacy and its leaders have always and continue to stand for.”

African Americans make up just over 5 percent of the student body at the law school, according to the website

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  1. So you enrolled in the law school of Washington and Lee University when you could have gone elsewhere, and at this late stage you decide that you don’t want Robert Lee’s image on your diploma?

    This sudden aversion to everyone connected to the Confederacy is herd behavior, groupthink, knee jerk conformity to the changing standards of academic life.

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