DURHAM, N.C. -- President of Duke, Vincent Price, announced Saturday that the statue of Robert E. Lee has been removed from outside the university's chapel.

In a letter released on the Duke Today, Price said the following:

After hearing from and consulting with a number of students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and with the strong support of the Board of Trustees, I authorized the removal of the statue of Robert E. Lee from the entrance of Duke Chapel early this morning.

I took this course of action to protect Duke Chapel, to ensure the vital safety of students and community members who worship there, and above all to express the deep and abiding values of our university.

The removal also presents an opportunity for us to learn and heal. The statue will be preserved so that students can study Duke’s complex past and take part in a more inclusive future.

Wednesday night’s act of vandalism made clear that the turmoil and turbulence of recent months do not stop at Duke’s gates. We have a responsibility to come together as a community to determine how we can respond to this unrest in a way that demonstrates our firm commitment to justice, not discrimination; to civil protest, not violence; to authentic dialogue, not rhetoric; and to empathy, not hatred.

This decision follows the vandalism of the statue on Duke's campus Wednesday, and rising tensions in Durham after a group of protesters in Durham toppled a Confederate monument Monday evening.

The announcement is one week after white supremacists rallied in Charlottesville, leaving one dead, and 19 injured.