Westwood Alumni Weigh In on Jefferson Davis Statue Removal

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Westwood Alumni Weigh In on Jefferson Davis Statue Removal

By Anna Chuo, Morale Officer

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At the start of the school year, more than 3,000 supporters signed a petition to remove the Jefferson Davis statue from his pedestal outside on the University of Texas at Austin. And on August 30, 2015, they finally got their wish. Many people felt the need to remove the statue due to recent violence related to the confederacy and its legacy, and felt like they were glorifying what the secession stood for. Along with Jefferson Davis being removed, Woodrow Wilson, who stood facing him, was also removed. Even though Wilson was president of our country, many requested his removal as well, because of his ties with the Klu Klux Klan.

“I was actually there to watch [the statues] be removed. I definitely agree that they should be removed,” Priyanka Mara ‘15 said. “While it’s important to remember history and where we have been it should be in a museum, not commemorated on campus. Honestly, I can imagine as a black student having to walk past that every day while racism still exists in American society, it must be terrible. Also I agree that Wilson should be removed. Not just for symmetry, but because he also was pretty racist as well.” 

Even though there were more than 3,000 supporters to remove the statue, there were also supporters to keep it. Certain organizations saw the removal as an effort to erase history, including the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV). Two days before Davis and Wilson’s removal, UT and SCV representatives were in the Travis County Court where a judge denied a temporary injunction — to leave the statues where they were.

And while Davis and Wilson were removed, Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Albert Sidney Johnston, Confederate Postmaster John H. Reagan, and James Stephen Hogg, the first native-born governor of Texas and the son of a Confederate general remain on campus alongside the Martin Luther King Jr. statue. Many of those haven’t been targeted though because of their deeper ties to Texas.

Not only was the statue being petitioned against, it was also vandalized on multiple occasions, but one of the more notable defacing occurred this past June. According to KXAN, the vandals made their mark between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. The Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Albert Sydney Johnston statues had been spray painted in red “Black Lives Matter.” Davis also had “BUMP ALL THE CHUMPS” on the back of his stone pedestal.

More than likely, the vandalism was caused by outraged college students. Whether or not you agree with their actions doesn’t change the repercussions that came with those words. Without the vandalism or online petition, the statues would probably still be standing. Many see this as an example of the next generation’s drive and determination.

“I’m excited to be in the presence of such devoted people and I’m glad they’re so active in their community for what they think is right,” Grace Cauble ‘15 said.

Maybe this is a peek at the future, or shows how the internet can change the world more than “Gangnam Style” ever could.