The University of Texas-Austin took down a Confederate statue on its campus Sunday morning after students circulated an online petition calling for its removal. The statue depicts Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy during the Civil War.
“As students, we don’t want to erase history, but we also don’t believe it’s right for the University of Texas to display a statue that glorifies rather than teaches on our main mall,” the Change.org petition states. It also notes that Davis was a slave owner and says his role in leading the Confederate insurgency is “an affront to all Americans.”
Earlier this month, after a task force considered the statue’s removal, UT-Austin President Greg Fenves said it would be taken down and moved to the Briscoe Center for American History, the Dallas Morning News reports. However, a group called the Sons of Confederate Veterans sued to keep the statue in place. A judge dismissed their request for a temporary restraining order, allowing the removal of the statue to go forward.
“When we were making fun of it back in March; we didn’t think it would result in anything but re-sparking a debate,” Xavier Rotnofsky, the student body president at UT-Austin, told the Dallas Morning News.
Rotnofsky and other students celebrated the statue’s removal today, cheering as it was taken down.
Jefferson Davis statue on UT Main Mall, 1933-2015 pic.twitter.com/0FDoVohzXi— Austin Statesman (@statesman) August 30, 2015
The Sons of Confederate Veterans vowed to continue to fight for the statue’s place on campus. The group’s attorney, Kirk Lyons, compared the statue removal to Pearl Harbor and said the Sons of Confederate Veterans would fight back. “Hiroshima is coming,” he told the Dallas Morning News.