Written by Devon Mitchell
From April 26 to the 30, students from the Student Government Association (SGA) sat outside of the Colket Center asking students to sign the “Not Our Monument” petition to ask the City of Salem to remove a Confederate statue outside of West Hall.
The statue in question is located on a plot of land owned by Roanoke County, yet adjacent to Roanoke College property. It is in a prominent place where all students, faculty, staff, and prospective students can see. The petition calls on the county to remove the statue.
Over the past year, there has been a lot of momentum to enact change on the Roanoke College campus, specifically with issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. To many members of the RC community, the Confederate statue does not represent the college’s values and has a negative impact on the inclusive environment which students wish to foster. The impact on students has not been lost on members of SGA.
The “Not Our Monument” petition has been spearheaded by junior Emily Cranford, chair of the Student Advancement and Community Affairs Committees. Cranford, the Senators in the Student Advancement and Community Affairs Committees, and other members of SGA have been able to gain confidence in this movement and have received over 420 signatures from students and faculty.
“My committee and I worked hard to raise awareness and support for removing the monument. We truly hope that Roanoke College can continue to grow and remember the enslaved laborers who built our school,” said Cranford.