Paul L. Caron

Thursday, November 21, 2019

W&L Law Students Demand Right To Strip George Washington And Robert E. Lee From Their Diplomas

W&L 5, Robert E. Lee on Your Diploma? Some Law Students Say 'No Thanks':

Should graduates of Washington and Lee University be able to opt out of having the visages of the university’s namesakes appear on their diplomas?

Several hundred current law students and alumni think so. They’ve circulated a petition asking the university to let students request that George Washington and Robert E. Lee’s portraits be kept off their degrees. In the current diploma design, pictures of the two men flank the university name at the top of the document.

According to the petition, the ability to receive a degree without those pictures will create a more “inclusive” atmosphere, but it stops short of detailing why some graduates may feel uncomfortable with the men appearing on their diplomas. (George Washington was a slave owner and Lee led the Confederate Army before serving as president of the Lexington, Virginia, university after the Civil War.) The goal, according to the petition, is to have diplomas that graduates are “proud” to display in their homes and offices.

“Given the aftermath of the 2017 Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville and the heightened awareness of making Washington & Lee an inclusive and compassionate environment to all students, we believe this request provides alumni the ability to honor their alma mater without the presence of the portraits that some may find controversial or offensive,” the petition reads.

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If the name embarrassed them, they could have applied to and attended other schools. Even now, if they don't want the diploma, they can drop out and not earn one.

Posted by: George Avery | Nov 23, 2019 3:48:31 PM

Slippery slope is no fallacy. See gay marriage. First diplomas, then currency? Say no and hold off as long as possible with these cultural Marxists.

Posted by: Anon | Nov 22, 2019 6:10:44 PM

So it is the pictures of Washington and Lee that are offensive. Their names are OK though?? They will be happy to display their diplomas because without the pictures no one would connect their school with George Washington or Robert E Lee. The logic (or whatever word you want to use) is breathtaking. I guess they didn't know before the moment they got their diploma that they were offended by being at a college named for the persons whose pictures they want removed.

Posted by: aircav65 | Nov 22, 2019 1:22:59 PM

In 1796, George Washington gifted 100 shares of James River and Kanawha stock (then worth $50,000) to Liberty Hall Academy--Washington & Lee's predecessor. Without it, Liberty Hall, which was on the verge of insolvency, would have closed. Had Liberty Hall closed, Washington & Lee would never have come into existence. Point being, you can remove Washington's likeness from the diploma, but he remains inextricably linked to the school. With that in mind, this demand seems a little insincere, because if you truly had the courage of your convictions, you would avoided attending the school altogether.

Posted by: QWERTY123 | Nov 22, 2019 8:34:50 AM

Just say NO!!!

Posted by: Bandit | Nov 22, 2019 7:53:20 AM

My answer would be something along the lines of, "You knew all this when you applied to go to law school here, this is our tradition, so the answer is not just 'No' but 'Hell no.' And, you are free to drop out and go elsewhere."

Posted by: tps | Nov 22, 2019 7:01:52 AM

Nothing newsworthy has happened since UTR in Charlottesville. Communists who hate white people causing a riot and brawls against nationalists who hate non-whites is that important.

Posted by: Marcus J Pugner | Nov 22, 2019 6:33:09 AM

A reasonable compromise, and one that is easy to implement, is white-out. Just include it with each diploma and leave the decision up to the individual and newly minted defenders of justice.

Posted by: Jim Alexander | Nov 22, 2019 5:49:43 AM

The only way to really protect them is by not granting a degree from an institution with such a problematic name. Otherwise, every time they read their resume they would be traumatized and made to feel uncomfortable. I don't see how in good conscience you could actual grant them a degree from such a problematic institution.

Posted by: tommyboy | Nov 22, 2019 4:48:57 AM

If they hate the name, why did they go there?

Posted by: Mike Livingston | Nov 22, 2019 4:12:47 AM

They could do it themselves with whiteout or a sharpie. Do they want the name of the university taken off of it too?

Posted by: ruralcounsel | Nov 21, 2019 11:16:43 AM