UT Committee Says Jefferson Davis and Other Statues Should Go

UT President Fenves Plans to Act Before the Summer Ends

By Mark Stenberg

Earlier this morning, the ten-person “Task Force on Historical Representation of Statuary at UT Austin” submitted their report “identifying and evaluating options for addressing the controversial statues to new UT President Gregory L. Fenves, who formed the task force in June.Jefferson Davis

Fenves will decide what action to take on the statue before the end of the summer.

The task force suggested five possible options.

1. Leave the statues in place and add explanatory plaques.

2. Relocate the statue of Jefferson Davis, and the inscription to the west of the Littlefield Fountain, to the Briscoe Center for American History, the Blanton Museum, the Texas Memorial Museum, the Harry Ransom Center, the Littlefield home, or an exhibit elsewhere on campus.

3. Relocate the statues of Davis, Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston, and John Reagan, and the inscription west of the Littlefield Fountain, to the Briscoe Center for American History, the Blanton Museum, the Texas Memorial Museum, the Harry Ransom Center, the Littlefield home, or an exhibit elsewhere on campus.

4.Relocate statues of Davis, Lee, Johnston, and Woodrow Wilson, and the inscription to the west of the Littlefield Fountain, to the Briscoe Center for American History, the Blanton Museum, the Texas Memorial Museum, the Harry Ransom Center, the Littlefield home, or an exhibit elsewhere on campus.

5. Relocate all six statues, including that of James Stephen Hogg, and the inscription to the west of the Littlefield Fountain, to the Briscoe Center for American History, the Blanton Museum, the Texas Memorial Museum, the Harry Ransom Center, the Littlefield home or an exhibit elsewhere on campus.

The good news is all of the options advocate change, meaning that Fenves will almost certainly take some action on the statues. Both previous UT presidents who have confronted this issue (Faulkner and Powers) have done nothing.

The task force utilized public opinion to help reach their conclusion, hosting two public forums and hearing from more than 3,100 individuals via online submission forms, emails and phone calls.

According to the report, “33 percent were in favor of relocating the statue of Jefferson, 27 percent were in favor of removing all statues from the mall, while 33 percent were in favor of leaving them in their current locations, and approximately 7 percent suggested other options or provided other comments.”