University of Texas removes Confederate statues from campus

AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas has begun the process of removing four statues of prominent Confederate figures from the school’s main campus.

University President Gregory L. Fenves announced the move late Sunday night, the Austin American-Statesman reports.

The decision in Texas follows a national trend with the removal of images of the Confederacy, including in Ohio. It has gained momentum after deadly clashes between white supremacists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“The horrific displays of hatred at the University of Virginia and in Charlottesville shocked and saddened the nation,” Fenves said in a statement. “These events make it clear, now more than ever, that Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism.”

Statues of Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston and John Reagan will be removed, while a statue of former Texas Gov. James Stephen Hogg will be taken down but might be relocated, reports say.

A university spokesman tells the American-Statesman the work to remove the statues started in the middle of the night for safety reasons. Classes do not begin at the school for another 10 days.

In 2015, the university removed a statue of Confederate president Jefferson Davis, the Associated Press reports. Lawsuits filed to stop its removal were unsuccessful.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has said he is against the removal of Confederate statues.