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Thrasher: Eppes Statue Should Be Removed From FSU Campus 'Immediately'

Florida State University
University president John Thrasher is backing the removal of this statue of Francis Eppes, credited as an essential figure in the founding of FSU, from campus. The statue has been a subject of controversy for years, because Eppes owned slaves.

Florida State University president John Thrasher now says he supports removing a statue from campus of a man credited as an essential figure in the school’s founding.

Controversy has swirled around the statue of Francis Eppes in recent years, because he owned slaves.

Groups of students have called for the statue’s removal for years, and those demonstrations have intensified in recent weeks. Now, the University’s president is on board.

In a statement released Thursday, Thrasher wrote: “the Francis W. Eppes statue should be immediately placed off campus as the task force begins its work."

Thrasher convened a 30-member Task Force on Anti-Racism, Equality & Inclusion for the coming academic year.

The University had considered the statue’s removal. But ultimately the statue was relocated on campus last year, and a plaque placed at its feet acknowledging Epees’ record is “tainted by slavery.”

Eppes, who was a grandson of Thomas Jefferson, was a prominent figure in Tallahassee in the early 1800’s, even serving as its mayor at times. He owned a plantation outside of the city that produced cotton, using the labor of enslaved people.

Ryan Dailey is a reporter/producer for WFSU/Florida Public Radio. After graduating from Florida State University, Ryan went into print journalism working for the Tallahassee Democrat for five years. At the Democrat, he worked as a copy editor, general assignment and K-12 education reporter.