UT Task Force: Move, or Explain Campus Davis Statue

A task force recommended Monday that the University of Texas should move a Jefferson Davis statue elsewhere on campus, or at least add an explanatory plaque with historical context on why the president of the Confederacy was being honored with a bronze likeness.

The 12-member panel of students, staff and alumni formally released five recommendations to new university President Greg Fenves.

Four involved moving the statue of Davis from the Austin campus' south mall, while also relocating other statues of Confederate Civil War figures. If the statues stay put, the panel suggested adding "explanatory plaques that would enhance the educational value of the statues and provide historical context."

Fenves, who took office in June, said he will "thoroughly review the report" before making a decision.

At issue are the Davis statue and statues of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Albert Sidney Johnston, as well as Confederate Postmaster General John H. Reagan. There's also an inscription saluting "the Confederacy and Southern patriotism, which swept the South during the early 1900s."

The question of what to do with the statues has gained new focus as state governments and businesses around the country have removed Confederate symbols following the recent mass shooting of black church members in Charleston, South Carolina.

Monday's report recommends moving the Davis statue or other statues and the inscription to the university's Dolph 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 task force held two July public hearings on the issue and collected more than 3,100 responses from people to an online questionnaire about the statues.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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