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Thomas Jefferson Statue at the University of Missouri

Primary sources, scholarship, news reporting, and views from the MU community regarding Thomas Jefferson and the Jefferson statue on Francis Quadrangle

Task Force for Contextualization of Thomas Jefferson

In Fall 2020, MU Chancellor Mun Choi convened a task force to consider ways of "recontextualizing" MU's Jefferson statue without removing it from public display.

According to The Maneater, Choi instructed task force members to “approach making recommendations with the recognition that removal of the statue is non-negotiable.”

“To be clear, the decision for the statue to remain on Francis Quadrangle will not be reversed," Choi wrote in his introductory email to the group.

In January 2021, the task force presented a report to Choi recommending the creation of "a commemorative wayside sign ... with language
explaining why the Jefferson statue is present on the MU campus, as well as summarizing Jefferson’s accomplishments, and also his shortcomings, including his role as a slaveowner and the father of children by an enslaved person he owned."

In June 2021, UM System curators Darryl Chatman, Maurice Graham, Todd Graves, Greg Hoberock, Jeffrey Layman, Robin Wenneker, and Michael Williams voted against the task force's recommendations for contextualization. Curator Julia Brncic voted in favor of contextualizing the statue.

University of Missouri Board of Curators Meeting, June 24, 2021

Task Force Members

Community Members:

  • Gary Kremer (Chair), Executive Director, Secretary, and Librarian, State Historical Society of Missouri

MU Faculty:

  • Carli Conklin, Associate Professor of Law; Associate Professor, Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy
  • Erin Holmes, Postdoctoral Fellow in History, Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy
  • Jeff Pasley, Professor of History; Associate Director, Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy
  • Kristin Schwain, Associate Professor of Art History
  • Phil Wood, Professor of Psychological Sciences; Member, MU Committee on Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity

MU Staff:

  • Elizabeth Beal, Business Manager III, Student Affairs; Member, MU Staff Advisory Council
  • Cindy Hall, Strategic Initiatives, Joint Office of Strategic Communications and Marketing

MU Students:

  • Terrell Christian [Resigned from task force prior to first meeting in August 2020.]
  • Tori Schaefer, President, Graduate Professional Council [Resigned from task force in November 2020.]
  • Anthony Tretter, President, Missouri Students Association
  • George Wilson, President, Association of Black Graduate and Professional Students

MU Alumni:

UM System Curators: