CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan is defending her use of Thomas Jefferson quotations after being asked by a group of students and professors not to use the school's founder as a "moral compass."

News outlets report Sullivan quoted Jefferson in separate statements made to the campus community before and after Donald Trump's election.

In response, Assistant Professor of Psychology Noelle Hurd drafted a letter, signed by more than 400 faculty members and students, saying Jefferson was a slave owner and the use of the quotes "undermines the messages of unity, equality, civility, and inclusivity" that Sullivan was trying to convey.

Sullivan wrote Monday that she supports their right to express their opinions and that quoting Jefferson doesn't imply she agrees with all of his actions, beliefs or politics.

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