By Alex Samuels, The Texas Tribune
August 24, 2017
A Confederate heritage group sued the University of Texas at Austin on Thursday for removing several Confederate statues from its campus earlier this week.
UT-Austin spokesman J.B. Bird confirmed Thursday that the university had received the lawsuit by the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Late Sunday night, 10 days before fall classes were scheduled to start, workers at the University of Texas at Austin removed statues of Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston and John Reagan. In an email sent to the campus community just before 11 p.m. Sunday night, University president Greg Fenves announced that the statues depict parts of American history that “run counter to the university’s core values.” A statue of former Texas Gov. James Stephen Hogg was also marked for removal.
Bird said the university would not comment on pending litigation but that the relocation of the statues “was handled appropriately.”
The decision to remove the statues, which happened roughly a week after unrest in Charlottesville, Virginia, surrounding the removal of a Confederate statue in that town, prompted mixed reactions from Texas officials.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans has previously sued the university over Confederate statues. In 2015, they unsuccessfully tried to block the removal of a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues. This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2017/08/24/ut-austin-sued-removing-confederate-statues-campus-grounds/.