Duke University removes statue of Confederate general

DURHAM, N.C. (WITN) - A statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee no longer stands at Duke University after it was vandalized this week.

Duke University President Vincent E. Price says they removed the statue early Saturday morning and will preserve it to allow future students to study Duke’s complex past and take part in a more inclusive future. Last weekend, a statue of Lee was at the center of controversy and a protest that turned violent in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In a letter to the campus community, President Price talked about the decision to remove the statue. "We have a responsibility to come together as a community to determine how we can respond to this unrest in a way that demonstrates our firm commitment to justice, not discrimination; to civil protest, not violence; to authentic dialogue, not rhetoric; and to empathy, not hatred."

Officials discovered early Thursday that the statue's face had been damaged by vandalism. Lee was among 10 historical figures depicted at the chapel.

On Monday in downtown Durham, a bronze Confederate statue was torn down by demonstrators.

(The Associated Press contributed to this article.)