In an email sent Sunday night just a few minutes before 10pm, UT President Greg Fenves announced plans to remove four Confederate statues from the school’s grounds; those commemorating Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston, John H. Reagan, and James Stephen Hogg, a state governor from 1891-1895 who likely just didn’t look so good out there with all his neighbors being gone. The school plans to replace him elsewhere on campus.
Fenves said he’s spent the past week talking with various members of the UT community, and stacked their perspectives onto his considerations of 2015’s task force report, written after Dylann Roof’s mass murder in Charleston, which spurred the removal of statues depicting Jefferson Davis and Woodrow Wilson.
Fenves wrote: “The University of Texas is a public educational and research institution, first and foremost. The historical and cultural significance of the Confederate statues on our campus – and the connections that individuals have with them – are severely compromised by what they symbolize. Erected during the period of Jim Crow laws and segregation, the statues represent the subjugation of African Americans. That remains true today for white supremacists who use them to symbolize hatred and bigotry.
The school “has a duty to preserve and study history,” he said. “But our duty also compels us to acknowledge that those parts of our history that run counter to the university’s core values, the values of our state and the enduring values of our nation, do not belong on pedestals in the heart of the Forty Acres.”
Classes at UT start Wednesday, and Fenves did not waste any time. He had crews out minutes after announcing the decision, presumably to keep the crowd sizes and theatrics to a minimum. It worked, more or less; daily outlets had reporters on the scene, and KUT’s Audrey McGlinchy noted that some Infowars brat had shown up to argue with those hollering in support of their removal.
Would anticipate City Council’s process for replacing Robert E. Lee Road and Jeff Davis Avenue being a bit more tedious.
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