AUSTIN, TX (KXAN) — Sunday night University of Texas at Austin President Greg Fenves issued a statement calling for the removal of the three remaining Confederate monuments on the UT Austin campus.
Those statues depict John H. Reagan (Confederate Postmaster General), Albert S. Johnston (a Confederate general), and Robert E. Lee ( commander of the Confederate army). All are located on the South Mall, a central area on campus where many students will go to walk, study and visit.
As of 3 a.m. Monday morning, all three Confederate statues had been removed. A fourth statue of former Texas Gov. James Hogg was also removed, leaving George Washington’s statue alone on the South Mall.
The removal was scheduled overnight and barricades were installed for safety reasons, UTPD said.
UT Chief Communications Officer Gary Susswein added the removal work was done without advanced warning for public safety reasons. It was “also to minimize the disruption to campus.”
President Fenves noted in his statement that after white supremacists and neo-Nazi’s protested the removal of a confederate statue on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville last week, now more than ever, “that Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism.”
President Fenves said that over the past few days student leaders, students, faculty members, staff members and alumni have shared their thoughts with him about the statues. Following those conversations and a review of the 2015 task force report, he decided to relocate the remaining four statues.
“The historical and cultural significance of the Confederate statues on our campus — and the connections that individuals have with them — are severely compromised by what they symbolize” Fenves said in his statement. “Erected during the period of Jim Crow laws and segregation, the statues represent the subjugation of African Americans. That remains true today for white supremacists who use them to symbolize hatred and bigotry.”