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Grand Valley State University suggests Allendale move Civil War statue, provide historical context

The university says it respects that this is the township's decision.

ALLENDALE, Mich. — Grand Valley State University, which is primarily based in Allendale, said in a statement the school has a "keen interest" in the outcome of a controversial Civil War statue at an Allendale Township park.

The statue at the Veterans Garden of Honor depicts a Union solider and a Confederate solider back to back with an enslaved child at their feet. In recent weeks as Confederate statues are being taken down across the country, some are calling for this display to be taken down. 

"As an educational institution, we have offered a suggestion to relocate the statue and provide historical context, as well as our assistance in furthering dialogue along racial justice and inclusion," GVSU said in a statement.

The debate about the statue led to an hours long township meeting last week. Over the weekend, a tense protest at the statue brought out both defenders and critics of the display. 

GVSU's main campus is in Allendale. The university says even though it suggested the statue be moved, they respect that this is the township's decision. 

The university's president also sent the township a letter last week. 

The board plans to formally vote during a special meeting Tuesday, June 30 at 7 p.m. Allendale Township Supervisor Adam Elenbaas said the township board plans to keep the statue.

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