AUSTIN (Equal Justice Initiative) — Student leaders at the University of Texas in Austin are seeking to remove from their campus a statue of Confederate leader Jefferson Davis, which recently was defaced with the words “Davis must fall” and “Emancipate UT.”
An overwhelming majority of the Student Government adopted a resolution in March calling for removal of the statue because it represents “slavery and racism.” Student body president Xavier Rotnofsky said those things are “just not in line with the university’s core values.”
The university has not made a decision on the resolution. Gary Susswein, director of media relations for UT-Austin, told USA Today College that the university is going through a presidential transition, so it is not an appropriate time for outgoing leadership to make a major decision about a change in policy.
Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center for American History at UT-Austin, says the World War I-era statue “was not conceived as a tribute to the confederacy, it was used to show reconciliation.” Students and the NAACP say Jefferson Davis’s statue has no place on campus because he has no affiliation with the university or the state beyond Texas’s ties to the Confederacy.