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Sunday, September 06, 2015

University Removes Jefferson Davis Statue

Michael McGrady, Colorado Campus Correspondent reports, "The University of Texas at Austin (UT) is moving a statue of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States of America, to a museum."

Jefferson Davis statue

On Monday, the UT Task Force on Historical Representation of Statuary published a report that recommended that the university remove statues that honor several U.S. and Confederate leaders.

The statues in question, placed in the university’s Main Mall, depict Confederate leaders like General Robert E. Lee, Confederate Postmaster General and Texas Democratic Party leader John Reagan, and Confederate President Jefferson Davis alongside U.S. President Woodrow Wilson (D) and Texas Governor James Stephen Hogg (D). All but a nearby statue of U.S. President George Washington were commissioned by one of UT’s earliest benefactors, George Littlefield, a well-off Confederate veteran.
“As a public university, it is vital that we preserve and understand our history and help our students and the public learn from it in meaningful ways,” UT President Gregory L. Fenves said in an official press release.

The statue depicting Jefferson Davis is being moved to the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, where it will be placed in an American history exhibit.

The task force behind the recommendation was formed by UT Austin President Gregory Fenves in June. Fenves charged the task force “with identifying and evaluating options for addressing the controversial statues that line the university’s Main Mall, especially the statue of Jefferson Davis.”

The twelve-member task force, which was composed of faculty, alumni, staff, and current students, met six times and collected feedback from two public forums, emails, phone calls, and an online submission form.

UT Austin’s Dr. Gregory Vincent, Vice President for diversity and community engagement, led the task force. Dr. Vincent has told local news that, "there are certainly sentiments expressed about how offensive these statues are...and are not consistent with our university values.”

Source: Campus Reform