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UT to Relocate Jefferson Davis Statue; Other Confederate Statues to Stay Put

Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson/Texas Tribune
The Jefferson Davis statue 'has few ties to Texas' and will be relocated, says UT Austin President Greg Fenves.

University of Texas at Austin President Greg Fenves announced Thursday morning that the school would move a statue of Confederate leader Jefferson Davis from the Main Mall to the Briscoe Center for American History. University students and community members had been protesting the Davis statue's location on the Main Mall of the campus because of his prominent historical status as President of the Confederacy.

Earlier this summer Fenves convened a committee of students and faculty to determine options for relocating or removing the Davis statue, along with several other statues of Confederate figures. The report released by the committee outlined five options, most of which advocated relocating the statues.

While the Davis statue will be moved, Fenves says the other statues will remain where they currently stand. Jefferson Davis is "in a separate category" and "has few ties to Texas," so his statue belongs in an educational exhibit rather than a monument, Fenves says in his statement.

Another statue, that of President Woodrow Wilson, will also be moved to preserve the symmetry of the Main Mall. The Wilson statue currently stands across from the Davis statue. The Wilson statue will be moved to "an appropriate exterior location on campus." 

Fenves says of the other four Confederate statues that had been under discussion:

The other four figures of the Littlefield Memorial will remain in place. James Stephen Hogg, Albert Sidney Johnston, and John Reagan had deep ties to Texas. Robert E. Lee’s complicated legacy to Texas and the nation should not be reduced to his role in the Civil War. Their history will be described in the Briscoe Center. I will consider placing a plaque near the Littlefield Fountain to provide context. This combination of locating the Jefferson Davis statue in a center devoted to history and keeping the remaining statues along the Main Mall is both respectful of the heritage that is important to many and serves as a poignant display of our nation’s and university’s history.

The University has not announced yet when the relocation will take place.

[Read President Fenves' statement here.]

Map: Confederate statues currently standing on the UT Austin campus

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