UT Austin Hosts Public Forum on Confederate Statues

Jefferson Davis Statue at UT
AP Photo/Eric Gay

AUSTIN, Texas –After multiple acts of vandalism and contentious Twitter campaigns, The University of Texas at Austin held a public forum last week to receive public input on the campus confederate statues and continues to close in on a decision regarding the statues’ future.

Among the recent damages, messages like “Black Lives Matter” and “Bump All The Chumps” were spray-painted on the statues of Texas Confederate General Robert. E. Lee, Commander Albert Sidney Johnston, and Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

The open forum was announced via the UT website on July 2. Current UT students, faculty, alumni, and other members of the larger community who signed up to speak had two minutes to voice their opinion on the confederate statues.

Those in favor of removing the statue said they felt “harassed” or offered to take it down at no cost:

The idea that the statue deserved “a place in history, but not a place of honor” was mentioned, and so was the idea of moving Jefferson Davis to a museum:

A majority of those who spoke on the issue were in favor of taking down the statue. X’ene Sky, a UT student, said, “I’m tired of validating my existence, my right to be in this space and feel comfortable on this campus,” according to an article on the KUT website. 

A statement given by Shelby Little who showed opposition to the removal of the statues was also noted in the KUT article

“What UT is attempting to do regarding the removal of these statues of President Davis and the other Confederates on this campus, is wrongheaded, short-sighted and contrary to your own liberal principles of tolerance, unity, inclusiveness and respect for differing points of view.” 

In June, UT president Greg Fenves established a 12-member Task Force on Historical Representation of Statuary to explore solutions in response to the wave of statue defacings and some fights to remove the Jefferson Davis statue from the main mall area of campus. 

The task force hosted the forum on July 7 in order to gather community feedback that will help in their recommendation making process due to Fenves by August 1. 

The next forum is scheduled for July 15 on the UT campus, and it will bring the university one-step closer to reaching a decision on the issue. 

Breitbart Texas will be in attendance to cover the event. 

Follow Cassi Pollock on Twitter: @cassi_pollock