Tear Down Confederate Statues on UT Austin Campus
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Statues on UT's South Mall currently memorialize the figures of Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Albert S. Johnston, and Confederate Postmaster General John H. Reagan*. It is past time that the University express unequivocal condemnation of the Confederacy's legacy of slavery and white supremacy, and of its lionization in Jim Crow era installations like those on campus, by removing these statues the way that they did the statue of Jefferson Davis in 2015. These figures' various historical connections to Texas qualify them, perhaps, for display in a museum, but not for a place of honor on our campus. We call on University President, Gregory L. Fenves, and on UT Austin's Board of Regents to show moral leadership by making this happen.
Following the violence of white supremacists in Charlottesville, VA, who came out explicitly to protect a statue of Robert E. Lee, the UT Austin Community must join with cities across the country in announcing that, far from being intimidated by threats of violence, we will stand even firmer in our resolve to confront our country's shameful legacy of racism. Austin's own city council has, since the events in Charlottesville, already begun the process of removing General Lee's name from a South Austin street ( http://www.statesman.com/news/local/austin-city-council-will-begin-process-renaming-robert-lee-road/c9bsekDTU9EEvoLONxDzxK/ )
Per President Fenves' own recent statements to the Austin American Statesman, "The display of hatred and violent actions by white supremacists in Charlottesville reaffirms our need to reject racism, bigotry and discrimination in all forms. There is no place in American society for ideologies that deny the equality of others" (http://www.statesman.com/news/local/fenves-place-for-white-supremacy-america/4JXIc1T8tFOK4Can0kR2gP/ )
We ask the University President and Regents to act in ways commensurate with this admirable statement: remove Confederate statues from our campus.
* While now slightly out of date, the Daily Texan's 2014 interactive map of UT statues is a good primer on these statues' locations and history: http://www.dailytexanonline.com/2014/03/19/the-statues-of-ut-interactive-map
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