A vandal or vandals defaced the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee near the entrance of Duke Chapel.
The incident happened sometime overnight, Duke University spokesman Keith Lawrence said, adding that the campus police are investigating.
Lawrence declined to speculate about how the damage was inflicted. Parts of Lee’s face had been chipped off, including all of his nose.
The statue’s face is high enough off the ground that most people would need a stepstool or small ladder to reach it.
The incident happened amid the ongoing controversy, heightened by events last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, about the presence of Confederate monuments on public property and other prominent locations. On Monday, protesters pulled down one such monument in downtown Durham; seven people face charges.
Another local Confederate memorial, UNC Chapel Hill’s “Silent Sam” statue on McCorkle Place, has been vandalized repeatedly in recent years, usually with spray paint.
Thursday’s incident is the first known vandalism targeting the Lee statue at Duke.
Duke officials said they’d increased security around the chapel, and will review a surveillance video from inside it.
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Source: Herald Sun