With close to no warning at all, the University of Texas decided to remove three Confederate monuments from its campus in an overnight operation, only 10 days before classes are set to begin
The three statues that were removed were the ones of Robert E, Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston, and John Reagan. The first two were Confederate generals, while the last one was a Confederate cabinet member. The operation began late Sunday and continued into the early morning. Moreover, the statue of James Stephen Hogg was also removed.
Greg Fenves, president of the university, explained that this decision comes after the violent protests that took place in Charlottesville, VA. He added that the protests opened his eyes to what the statues depicted. One woman was killed and dozens more were injured after nationalists gathered in Charlottesville to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee from a park.
Mr. Fenves wrote in a letter to the Texas campus’ community that after the events that took place in Charlottesville, it had become clear to him “that Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism.”
He further added that the significance of the statues was compromised by what they symbolized, and put accent on the fact that they were erected in the midst of Jim Crow and segregation and that they represented “the subjugation of African Americans.”
“The University of Texas at Austin has a duty to preserve and study history. 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,” Mr. Fenves wrote