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Washington and Lee University won’t strip Confederate leader from name

Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. (305299)
Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.

The board of trustees of Washington and Lee University on Friday voted 22-6 not to remove Confederate general Robert E. Lee’s name from the Virginia school’s moniker, reports NBC News. The decision came after months of review and a year of racial justice protests across the nation that questioned the veneration of Confederate figures.

“We found no consensus about whether changing the name of our university is consistent with our shared values,” the university said in a statement. “Nor is there consensus on whether changing the name will position the university to be the most successful it can be in the future.”

The school has changed its name multiple times since its 1749 founding as Augusta Academy. It was named Washington Academy after George Washington made a gift to what was then Liberty Hall Academy that “ensured its survival,” the school said.

In 1870, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s name was added “in recognition of his leadership in saving and transforming the school after the devastation of the Civil War,” it said.