Debate Over Confederate Monuments Prompts Texas Universities To Take Action — Or Not
Five stories that have North Texas talking: Texas A&M to keep its statue of Confederate leader; the UT System benefits big time from oil, but students don’t; “Frame of Mind” turns 25; and more.
Texas is home to more than 180 public symbols of the Confederacy, according to the Texas Tribune’s count. Amid national debate, city leaders, lawmakers and most recently, university leaders in Texas are having to address the monuments, monikers and other memorials on their property.
Late Sunday, four statues were removed from the University of Texas at Austin’s campus. President Greg Fenves says the three statues depicting Confederates will be moved to the Briscoe Center for American History, and the statue of James Stephen Hogg will be considered for re-installation somewhere else on campus, KUT reports. The school removed its statue of Jefferson Davis two years ago.
The University of Houston decided Monday to change the name of one of its residence halls, which shares a name with John C. Calhoun, a former U.S. vice president who promoted slavery and was a white supremacist, Houston Public Media reports. Spokesman Mike Rosen said the university doesn't have any statues, memorials or monuments honoring the Confederate era.
On the flip side, Texas A&M University officials said Monday that the school won’t remove its statue of Lawrence Sullivan “Sul” Ross, a former campus president, Texas governor and Confederate leader. "Anyone who knows the true history of Lawrence Sullivan Ross would never ask his statue to be removed," Chancellor John Sharp said in a statement.
Most of the other public universities in Texas don’t have any nods the Confederacy, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Texas Tech University System confirmed to the Morning News a building on its Lubbock campus features the faces of at least two Confederate leaders. The university will discuss their future with "various constituencies across campus." [The Texas Tribune, KUT, The Dallas Morning News]
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- Oil and gas extracted from state land in West Texas has helped create unprecedented wealth for the University of Texas System, but just a small portion goes to student financial aid. Explore the investigation. [The Texas Tribune]
- A 25-year-old Houston man was charged Monday with trying to plant a bomb to destroy a Confederate statue of Gen. Dick Dowling in Hermann Park. [Houston Chronicle]
- A few years ago, National Parks decided to curb littering and pollution by banning water bottle sales on park land. Now, the Trump administration has tossed out that policy. Here’s how the reversal affects Texas parks. [KUT]
- “Frame of Mind,” KERA’s television series devoted to independent film from Texas, turns 25 this year. Preview the milestone season, which kicks off next month. [Art&Seek]