Jefferson Davis Statue Moved from UT Mall

     AUSTIN, Texas (CN) – The University of Texas at Austin removed a statue of Jefferson Davis from the campus after months of debate – and took Woodrow Wilson with him.
     The statues of the former Confederate president and the former U.S. president were removed Sunday from the main mall area of the UT campus.
     Davis’ statue will be moved to the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History as part of a new educational exhibit, said university President Gregory L. Fenves. The Briscoe Center has five sites on UT campuses.
     Wilson’s statue was removed to maintain symmetry in the main mall space, where four other statues remain. It’s not yet determined where Wilson’s statue will be placed.
     In March this year, newly elected UT student government leaders Xavier Rotnofsky and Rohit Mandalapu said they wanted to take down the Jefferson Davis statue because of Davis’s support for slavery.
     Fenves convened a 12-member task force in June to decide the fate of the Davis statue. After hearing from alumni, students and faculty, the task force decided on Aug. 13 to move the statue on Aug. 15.
     “As a public university, it is vital that we preserve and understand our history and help our students and the public learn from it in meaningful ways,” Fenves said at the time.
     But the move was halted when the Texas division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans filed for a temporary restraining order on Aug. 14. They said the statues of Davis and Wilson were a gift from Confederate veteran Maj. George Washington Littlefield, who founded a trust to erect the six statues along with a fountain in the main mall of the UT campus. Littlefield’s will instructed that the statues be given prominence and be in view of the students and public.
     After a hearing on the restraining order, a state judge said the statues could be moved.
     “Jefferson Davis had few ties to Texas but played a unique role in the history of the American South that is best explained and understood through an educational exhibit. The Briscoe Center has the expertise to do that,” president Fenves said.

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