It is 2015, and it is time to remove the statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis from the campus of UT. It was a major platform item of the current student government President, and he followed through with a resolution that now sits in the hands of the new University President Greg Fenves.
This week the nation was rocked by a racially motivated attack on a black church that has a rich history of participation in the civil rights movement. By now you are probably familiar with many details including his racist sentiments and his glorification of the Confederacy. Pictures have been making rounds on the internet showing the Confederate flag on a vanity license plate on his car, in his hand as well as him burning the American flag.
The response to this tragedy has been overwhelming and less partisan than other high profile racially charged events. Mitt Romney forced the hand of GOP presidential candidates by calling for the removal of the flag from flying on the Capitol grounds of South Carolina, the President has stated that such iconography belongs in a museum. Even the Supreme Court weighed in on a parallel issue saying that Texas has the right to reject Sons of Confederate Veterans request to put the flag on Texas plates.
Those who say this is an attempt to erase history are wrong. Statues honor people whose values contribute to the foundation of a community or people and the Confederacy is not inline with American values. When U.S. soldiers helped take down the statue of Saddam Hussein it was seen as liberating and no one thought it would eliminate the memory of his regime. We must always remember the darkest days of our past and that is why we teach history and why we have museums to provide context to that history.
The Confederacy lost a state’s rights issue? Yes, and that means the times are changing and the flagship university of the UT system must act to place itself on the right side of history. Right now whether that happens is in the hands of one man and you can make sure he hears your voice.
As it often does the nation is watching Texas, and Mr. President, the eyes of Texas are upon you.
@Stansbury The student gov’t proposal was sent to the president’s office where it will be reviewed & carefully considered by univ. leaders.
— UT Austin (@UTAustin) June 19, 2015