Texas president wants recommendations on statues by Aug. 1

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- New University of Texas President Greg Fenves says he wants formal recommendations by Aug. 1 on whether to remove campus statues of Jefferson Davis and other Confederate war heroes.

Student groups have called for the removal of Davis, who was president of the Confederacy during the Civil War. The issue gained new focus as state governments and businesses remove Confederate symbols after last week's mass shooting of black church members in Charleston, South Carolina, which officials call a racial hate crime.

The statues of Davis and Gens. Robert E. Lee and Albert Sidney Johnston were spray-painted early Tuesday morning.

Fenves appointed a committee to consider what to do with them. Fenves could order the statues removed, but wouldn't say Wednesday if he wants to, insisting he won't influence the panel.