The Confederate monument relocation plan will no longer include the installation of headstones in the Confederate cemetery, according to a statement from Chancellor Glenn Boyce on Friday, July 17.
Earlier this week, on the same day that the monument was moved to the cemetery, the chancellor sent a statement that said the university would not allow excavation within the cemetery, but it was not specified that this included headstones. Boyce said he was not willing to risk damaging the remains of the Confederate and Union soldiers who are buried there.
“The graves are too shallow to add headstones without the possibility of disturbing the remains, which would be inappropriate and I am not willing to do that,” Friday’s statement said.
Boyce also said he “takes responsibility and apologizes” for the concerns that have resulted from this and other portions of the relocation plans. This apology comes after many members of the university community — including nine leaders of various Black student groups on campus — criticized the plan as a shrine to the Lost Cause. The Lost Cause ideology advocates that the Confederate war effort was just and heroic.
“From the outset of my involvement in this project, my goal has been to relocate the monument from the Circle in the heart of our campus to a more suitable location on campus in accordance with state law. We have done that,” he said in the statement. “At the same time, I must acknowledge that some aspects of the execution of this project have not been handled as well as I would have liked.”
The Black student leaders released a statement demanding they meet with the chancellor on July 20, and while Boyce did not explicitly address this request in his statement, he said that he is willing to meet with anyone who schedules an appointment with his office.