Students Vote No to Statue Removal

Courtesy: Tallahassee Democrat

 

Wednesday, students were given the chance to vote on the removal of the statue of Francis Eppes, who is considered one of the founders of Florida State University and the Grandson of Thomas Jefferson. The driving force behind the referendum was the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).

The referendum states:

We, the students of Florida State University, do not believe in honoring slave owners and those that enforced slavery. Therefore, we demand President John Thrasher, and the FSU Board of Trustees, remove the Francis Eppes Monument in front of the Westcott Building and rename Eppes Hall to remove Francis Eppes’ name. Do you agree? Yes or No.

Eppes was the original petitioner for the West Florida Seminary, which later became FSU and he donated land and money for the school to be built. Eppes’ name is also on the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice building as well as the trophy presented to the winner of the FSU- Virginia football game.

The controversy surrounding Eppes and consequently the things that have his name associated with them is due to Eppes’ ownership of slaves during the late 1800s. The nine-time mayor of Tallahassee also supported a slave militia, which can be seen as the beginnings of the Tallahassee Police Department, according to the FSView.   

The SDS President, Katherine Draken told the Tallahassee Democrat “If it fails, we will continue the struggle to remove the statue and the legacy of slavery here at FSU,” prior to the vote. The student body voted no to the referendum with 71.7% of the vote. 6,291 students voted in the fall election, which is over 10% of the undergraduate student body.

James Dilmore, President of the College Republicans at FSU told the FSView, “I'm absolutely pleased the students of Florida State University are not delusional, they do not give in to the very far left and their demands. It was a great show of democracy by the student body to keep the historical perspective of our campus intact. Frankly, it was just another good reminder we're at war here with the far left."

The Statue was built in 2002 and it resides in front of the Wescott Fountain on FSU’s campus. The plaque in front of the statue reads “Founder of Florida State University”.