The University of Texas at Austin removed several confederate statues overnight on Sunday following an announcement from the school’s president, Gregory Fenves.
“Last week, the horrific displays of hatred at the University of Virginia and in Charlottesville shocked and saddened the nation. These events make it clear, now more than ever, that Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism,” Fenves said in a Sunday statement.
Three of the statues being removed, including one of Confederate general Robert E. Lee, will be relocated to a campus exhibit. The fourth statue, which depicts former Texas Gov. James Hogg, may be relocated to another spot on the campus, Fenves said.
Fenves said he made the decision to remove the statues after a discussion with students, university staff, and alumni.
“The University of Texas at Austin is a public educational and research institution, first and foremost. 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,” he said in the 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.”
A spokesman for the university, Gary Susswein, told the Austin American-Statesman that the statues were removed after dark with little warning due to public safety concerns.