On Monday a UT task force charged with how to handle Confederate statues on its Austin campus submitted their final report to University President Greg Fenves. There's three statues: Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Albert Sidney Johnston. All three men had significant roles during in the Confederate Army.
But some believe the statues represent an oppressive time in US history and should not be celebrated. The University hosted public meetings and students organized rallies to give their input. UT President Greg Fenves formed a task force to take public opinion and come up with various solutions.
The 12-member task force is chaired by Gregory Vincent, UT Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement. It also includes other members of faculty, alumni and students.
The Task Force presented 5 options for Fenves to consider.
- Option 1: Leave all statues in place and add explanatory plaques that would enhance the educational value of the statues and provide historical context.
- Option 2: Relocate the statue of Jefferson Davis and the inscription near the Littlefield Fountain to an exhibit elsewhere on campus.
- Option 3: Relocate the statues of Davis, Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston and John Reagan and the inscription near the Littlefield Fountain to an exhibit elsewhere on campus.
- Option 4: Relocate the statues of Davis, Lee, Johnston and Woodrow Wilson and the inscription near the Littlefield Fountain to an exhibit elsewhere on campus.
- Option 5: Relocate six statues — Davis, Lee, Reagan, Johnston, Wilson and James Hogg — and the inscription near the Littlefield Fountain to an exhibit elsewhere on campus.
Student Government suggested The University relocate the Confederate statues from the Main Mall to a museum.
"These statues were placed there by George Littlefield to show unity after World War One. He felt that brought together in unity the North and South, after lingering feelings from the war between the states," said Marshall Davis, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Texas Division.
But others disagree.
"They are wrong, they are racist, they don't need to be put in a museum because they will still be wrong and racist. They need to be destroyed," said Mukund Rathi, a senior at UT Austin.
In June, someone vandalized the granite bases of the statues with spray paint. It's since been cleaned up, but it's further proof of how charged this issue is on the Austin campus.