UT Student Body Fights to Remove Jefferson Davis Statue from Campus

Jefferson Davis Statue at UT
AP Photo/Eric Gay

AUSTIN, Texas—The fight to remove the statue of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, resumed this past week with added vigor as UT faculty, alumni, and students took to Twitter in force.

In May, Breitbart Texas reported that the statue of Davis had already faced vandalism, scrutiny, and criticism in recent months. Vandals defaced the statue, located in front of the main UT Tower, on more than one occasion—with “Chump” and “Davis Must Fall” among the writings. The Daily Texan, the campus newspaper, published an editorial in support of taking the statue down. Arguably the most notable development centered on the passage of AR 35 by UT’s student government, a resolution that endorsed the removal of the statue.

Since AR 35, chatter calling for the expulsion of Jefferson Davis from campus has been growing. Within the past week, UT’s student government started an online petition with a goal of 1,500 signatures and wrote a letter to UT President Greg Fenves, explaining its stance late last week:

Statues serve to glorify and memorialize the values of what the subject stood for. Given Jefferson Davis’ vehement support for the institution of slavery and white supremacy, we believe this statue is not in line with the university’s core values—learning, discovery, freedom, leadership, individual opportunity, and responsibility. It is impossible to reach the full potential of an inclusive and progressive learning institution while putting an idol of our darkest days on a pedestal.

The letter also included a subtle reference to recent events in South Carolina, saying, “In the same way that the Confederate flag projects values of racial hatred, the Jefferson Davis statue memorializes a man who stood for racial inequality and bigotry.”

Soon after the petition was posted online, the Twittersphere exploded. Student body president and vice president, Xavier Rotnofsky and Rohit Mandalapu, tweeted the following, suggesting the statue be moved to a nearby museum:

The University’s Executive Alliance turned toward figures like Ted Cruz, Adam Sandler, and Donald Trump, and asked them for their thoughts on the Davis statue:

On June 19, @UTAustin said the proposal was on the Fenves’s desk:

President Fenves replied to the student government by announcing he takes the matter seriously:

Vocal UT alumni also showed up to campaign, oftentimes including the link to the petition or receiving a retweet from @UT_SG:

  It was announced on Monday that President Fenves was planning to meet with student representatives to further discuss #NoDavisOnCampus.

AR 35 Jefferson Davis 2


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