UT forum speakers call for eliminating Confederate statues

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Dozens of speakers at a University of Texas forum appealed for the removal from the Austin campus of statues honoring Confederate Civil War heroes.

More than 100 people filled the auditorium in the campus Student Activity Center for the midday Tuesday forum, and an overwhelming majority of the 25 speakers urged the removal of the statues of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, and other Confederate figures.

New University of Texas President Greg Fenves says he wants formal recommendations by Aug. 1 on whether to remove the statues.

The issue gained new focus as state governments and businesses remove Confederate symbols after last month's mass shooting of black church members in Charleston, South Carolina, that officials call a racial hate crime.

The next forum is scheduled for July 15.

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