As a historian, I believe it remains a symbol of the democratic values that New Yorkers hold dear.
There are 2 issues in my mind. First, applying presentism (judging historical figures by today's morals and standards) is likely going to marginalize every historical figure if one looks hard enough at people's public and private lives (it certainly does in Jefferson's case). Second, focusing narrowly on a failing - whether moral or otherwise - obfuscates a holistic understanding of a person (or even of an entire people and age). Owning slaves was not the only thing that Jefferson did, and there were many among him who also owned slaves. For a southern man of wealth in the late 1700s and early 1800s, owning slaves was not particularly remarkable - that doesn't mean that we shouldn't consider the institution of slavery as morally abhorrent today and fully recognize that Thomas Jefferson was part of problem and not part of the solution in regard to the abolition of slavery. However, writing the Declaration of Independence and doubling the size of the U.S. through the Louisiana Purchase when serving as the 3rd President were incredibly remarkable achievements. The History of the U.S. would very likely be quite different (and not in a good way) had Jefferson not participated on the national stage. Although Jefferson should not be celebrated as a perfect man, he certainly deserves celebration as an extremely important American. I am with the author - too much is lost when you start removing statues of the likes of Jefferson. It creates the narrative that he was all bad, and the country was all bad from the very start. And, I fear it serves to further erode a shared historical identify for U.S. citizens. I forgot who said that “A people without knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots”, but the point is that collective identity is lost when you reduce U.S. history and historical figures to solely a narrative of “oppressor versus the oppressed”. I hope they keep the statue in place.
You cannot stem the tide of iconoclasm with reason. Sadly, we will lose many great works of public art by eminent artists because of the mob. Richmond, Virginia, has destroyed half its civic art to placate trust fund Trotskyites and white pseudo-intellectual urbanites, because it’s cheaper than doing something that actually helps the impoverished African-American and Hispanic citizens of the City. It’s all window-dressing for the affluent self-righteous.
While I do not oppose statues of Jefferson I think their placement is important. Therefore I agree that it should be moved. This statue could be used to elaborate the terrible power of the cultural context of slavery and how it impeded Jefferson's concept of democracy. This is an important historical lesson.