The statue honoring the founder of Loras College in Dubuque has been removed after a researcher confirmed that Bishop Mathias Loras enslaved a woman in the 1800's for 16 years.
“The statue issue was one less of not recognizing Bishop Loras for his many contributions, but more instead to know that the placement of the statue on Loras' campus is one of prominence and it’s also one of prominence of the city of Dubuque,” President James Collins tells KCRG-TV 9. “Based on who we are, particularly around issues of human dignity and catholic identity, we did not think that, based on today and our future, that that should be the symbol of who we are.”
Students say they were surprised to get an email Tuesday informing them of the statue's removal.
“My roommates and I were all working on homework and all of a sudden this email came through and the shock of trying to get through the whole thing and trying to understand what the message was but also take time to comprehend what implications and what kind of impact that has, not only for our namesake, but how that is going to impact our campus as well,” Daniel Feldhake tells KCRG-TV 9.
He and fellow student Emanuel Rivera say even though everything happened quickly, they appreciate the decision.
“For me it feels good just because it shows their openness to, not just Black students, but minorities and I think it is a step forward for all of us,” Rivera says.
“As a student I want to make sure there is diversity, equity and inclusion that is promoted across the entire campus,” Feldhake says.
The statue will now go into storage until the community decides what to do with it. Collins says despite the removal of the statue there are no plans to change the name of the college.
(Photo from KCRG-TV 9)