Task Force Releases Recommendations for Confederate Statues

Task Forces Releases Recommendations for Confederate Statues

The group charged with making recommendations for the future of Confederate statues on campus released its report Monday, outlining five options for the memorials to Jefferson Davis and other Confederates that line the Main Mall of the Austin campus. The recommendations now go to university president Greg Fenves, who is expected to act on them soon.

If Fenves carries out any of the options, the status of the bronze statues will change, though none of the recommendations include their outright removal or destruction.

Similar task forces under previous presidents Larry Faulkner and Bill Powers recommended re-contextualizing the statuary with new plaques, though Faulkner deferred action to the next president, Powers. When new plaque designs were reviewed, the Vice President’s Council chose not to mount them, suggesting that it would only bring more attention to the statues.

This time, the attention seems impossible to ignore. After two public meetings and more than 3,000 online comments, the task force has released five broad recommendations.

The first option allows the statuary depicting Confederate president Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee, postmaster John H. Reagan, and military leader Albert Sidney Johnston, along with U.S. president Woodrow Wilson, to stay in place with new plaques meant to enhance the educational value and historical context of the memorials.

The four other options involve moving different combinations of the statues to other parts of campus, including the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, the Blanton Museum, the Texas Memorial Museum, the Harry Ransom Center, the Littlefield home, or another campus location.

A 30-page report sent to Fenves outlines the options and considers the history of the statues, the previous reviews, and the context in which the memorials were conceived—as well as the context they have existed in since they were erected.

In June, Fenves created the 12-member task force composed of students, university officials, and alumni in order to create the recommendations. The statues have been controversial since they were provided for by former regent and donor George Washington Littlefield in the early 20th century. More recently, newly elected Student Government leaders Xavier Rotnofsky and Rohit Mandalapu made their opposition to the statues a major part of their campaign.

President Fenves will make the final decision regarding the statues.

Below, read the full report:

Can’t see the report? Click here.

Task Force on Historical Representation of Statuary at UT Austin – Report

Top: UT employees remove graffiti from the Jefferson Davis statue in June. Photo by Matthew Watkins via Twitter.


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