Petition to Allow Washington & Lee Students to Opt-Out of Namesakes' Portraits on Diplomas
We, the undersigned, call on the administration of Washington and Lee University and President William Dudley to provide students with the option of removing the portraits of namesakes Robert E. Lee and George Washington from their diplomas. Multiple classes, both current students and alumni, have expressed this desire.

We are not asking for a mandatory change to the diplomas, but rather the option to have a diploma without portraits. Washington & Lee's diploma structure has changed over the years to reflect student requests, such as the transition from sheepskin diplomas to paper diplomas. The goal of establishing this option is to create a diploma that alumni are proud to prominently display in their homes and places of work. Given the aftermath of the 2017 Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville and the heightened awareness of making Washington & Lee an inclusive and compassionate environment to all students, we believe this request provides alumni the ability to honor their alma mater without the presence of the portraits that some may find controversial or offensive.

This petition is officially supported by Rev. Rob W. Lee IV, a descendent of Robert E. Lee. Rev. Rob's letter supporting the petition can be accessed here:

This petition is officially supported by the leadership of the Student Bar Association, Women Law Students Organization, OutLaw, the Black Law Students Association, the Jewish Law Students Organization, the Latin American Law Student Association, the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, the Disabled Law Students Association, Phi Alpha Delta Staples Chapter, the Federalist Society, the American Constitution Society, the Christian Legal Society, the Public Interest Law Students Association, the Student Coalition for Campus Change, the International Law Society, the Moot Court Board, the Kirgis Fellows, the W&L Advocate Coalition, the Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice, Washington & Lee Law Review, the German Law Journal and the Law News.*

*All opinions are reflective only of the undersigned and not reflective of the university. Any student organization named pertains only to chapters at Washington & Lee University and are not reflective of any national or affiliated organizations.

**Please note that respondent names are not updated in real time and there may be a delay in seeing your name after signing. Questions and comments may be directed to


Chandler Gray, 21L
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