Washburn University has quietly removed its statues of both Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson – without even being pressured to do so.
According to the College Fix, the Topeka, Kansas school discussed the move with the donor family who’d funded both bronze statues before officially removing them last Friday. The school said they’d had no protests, riots or even formal requests to remove the monuments to the Founding Fathers, but that they were concerned the statues could become a “lightning rod” for unrest because of similar demands made at the University of Missouri, where protesters had called on the school to remove its Thomas Jefferson statue.
While Thomas Jefferson has become a "controversial" figure for having owned slaves back in the 1700s, it's not immediately clear what egregious crime against humanity Benjamin Franklin (who at one point owned two house slaves but later became an ardent and outspoken critic of slavery) committed to have his likeness torn down.
The Franklin and Jefferson statues, donated by Gerald and Shannon Michaud, had stood at Washburn University in 2000 and 2002, respectively. The pieces have been replaced by two of the generic blue benches that sit around the campus.