Roanoke College students behind new petition to remove Confederate monument near campus

Roanoke Valley News

SALEM, Va. (WFXR) — A petition to remove a Confederate monument near Roanoke College is gaining a lot of attention.

For more than 100 years, a historic monument has stood at the corner of Main Street and College Avenue in downtown Salem, honoring Confederate soldiers in Roanoke County during the Civil War.

The statue is also located right off the campus of Roanoke College.

Despite its history, students are hoping to have it moved.

“We’ve created this petition in order to spread awareness throughout our campus, and also through Roanoke alumni, in order to get the statue removed,” said Tara Hrdlick, senior class senator for the school’s Student Government Association (SGA).

The statue has been the talk of the community, with some people voicing their concerns about the meaning and representation behind it.

“I know some people are concerned, and that some people view it as a source of pride,” said Emma Valcourt, a freshman.

However, with the school’s recent initiative on remembering its history, members of the SGA decided to step up.

“We feel as though that there’s a lot of momentum on campus right now for change,” said Emily Cranford, chair of Student Advancement and Community Affairs.

A new petition, titled “Not Our Monument,” now calls for its removal. As of Wednesday, April 28, it’s been signed by over 200 people, including teachers.

“We need to be able to have a safe space to have conversations about the implications that it had with racism,” Hrdlick said.

While the confederate monument is located near campus, it’s owned by Roanoke County.

“Maybe if the county heard from students and how it’s actually impacting people who go to school on the campus that it’s right next to,” explained Cranford, “they might reconsider removing it.”

Eventually, the student organization is hoping to present the petition to county leaders.

“This is just the beginning,” Hrdlick said. “We just need to keep signing the petition and raising awareness.”

Some students say they just want a peaceful resolution, no matter the outcome.

“Whatever happens, I hope it can be resolved peacefully,” said Valcourt.

WFXR News reached out to the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors, but has yet to hear back.

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