College Republicans launch petition to oppose efforts to remove Lincoln statue from UW-Madison campus

Lincoln Statue

MADISON, Wis. — The College Republicans of the University of Wisconsin–Madison launched a petition Tuesday to oppose efforts to remove the statue of President Abraham Lincoln from its current location.

Last week, a group of students called for the removal of the statue as the president was publicly anti-Black and for marginalized students doesn’t represent land-grant universities or emancipating slaves.

“While we can certainly admit that President Lincoln is not perfect when examining him under today’s moral lens over 150 years later, erasing our shared history does not lead to progress,” according to a release from College Republicans.

The release said criticizing leaders, past and present, is essential to democracy. The group commended Chancellor Rebecca Blank, who released a statement June 25, expressing university support for the statue.

“As the leader of UW–Madison, I believe that Abraham Lincoln’s legacy should not be erased but examined, that it should be both celebrated and critiqued,” Blank said in the statement. “To give just one example – without Lincoln, public land-grant universities like ours might not exist.”

College Republicans said in its release they support her response to calling for careful inspection before “the removal of important campus symbols.”

The organization hops students and alumni will support keeping the statue, stating that “support of one of our campus’s most unifying symbols should not be a political issue.”

“While we can certainly examine and criticize the parts of President Lincoln’s legacy that do not meet today’s standards, his support of the Union during the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation and the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment stand the test of time,” the release said. “It is because of these accomplishments that President Lincoln is regarded as one of the greatest, most unifying presidents in our nation’s history.”

The release said College Republicans condemns racism and prejudice in all forms.