Following out the outcry of the removal of Confederate or slavery related statues, Stockton University has removed a statue of its namesake, Richard Stockton, who was a slave-owner and signer of the Declaration of Independence R
Tthe university’s announced the removal of the bust from the school library this week. The announcement was made by Harvey Kesselman, the university’s president.
In an open letter, Kesselman promised that the stature would return once the school decided on “an appropriately safe and secure public space” to keep it. Richard Stockton, who the school is named after, was a lawyer, jurist, and slaveholder.
According to the announcement from the school, the removal of the bust is temporary, and will return with an exhibit that is being developed that will show a more historical perspective.
Stockton Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Lori Vermeulen sent a letter to the campus community Thursday to inform them of the decision to remove the statue.
Vermeulen said the mission of Stockton University — “to develop engaged and effective citizens with a commitment to lifelong learning and the capacity to adapt to change in a multicultural, interdependent world” — affords the university the responsibility to provide an opportunity for students to learn about the facts surrounding Richard Stockton’s place in American history as well as in Stockton’s history.
One student on Thursday, incoming Stockton senior Sarah Amin of Egg Harbor Township, said she thinks the removal of the statue is an “overreaction.” Kesselman said the timing of the removal is relevant, thanks to recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, and other cities around the country. He said he expects backlash, but the university tries to give an educational perspective to all issues and have a transparent conversation.
Similar to ESPN removing announcer Robert Lee from an upcoming Virginia game, this move reacts as another case of political correctness gone wrong. Sometimes, historical perspective needs to be taken into consideration.