UT president sued for removing Confederate statues

My Statesman – by Ryan Autullo, Ralph K.M. Haurwitz

A relative of Maj. George Washington Littlefield is suing University of Texas President Gregory L. Fenves for removing Confederate statues that his great-grand-uncle donated to the university in the 1920s.

In response to the deadly protest involving a Confederate statue in Charlottesville, Va., Fenves ordered that four statues — including three of Confederate figures — displayed on the South Mall of the UT campus be taken down overnight, with work starting Sunday after 10 p.m.  

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in U.S. Western District Court, says UT has gone back on an agreement with Littlefield, who donated money and land to the school in return for honoring his request that the university promote the “Southern perspective of American history.”

It reads: “The university agreed to communicate political speech in perpetuity. Now, however, Pres. Fenves has breached the university’s promise to communicate minority political speech.”

The plaintiffs request a temporary injunction.

The attorney who filed the lawsuit, Kirk Lyons, filed a similar lawsuit in 2015 seeking to bar Fenves from removing the statues of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and of former President Woodrow Wilson from the South Mall. A judge denied Lyons’ request for a restraining order, and the university took down the statues days later. Lyons appealed to the Texas Supreme Court, where the case is pending.

Lyons declined to comment on Thursday.

Patti Ohlendorf, UT-Austin’s chief lawyer, told the American-Statesman that Fenves consulted with a number of people before making what he considered the best decision — namely, to remove the statues from the South Mall. The decision was legally sound, she said.

The statues that Fenves ordered to be taken down honor Confederate Gens. 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.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Littlefield relative Steven Littlefield of Montana and David McMahon, commander of the Texas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

The Davis statue was moved to a museum on campus; the Wilson statue is in storage. The three other Confederate statues are also to be sent to the museum, while Hogg’s statue will be considered for reinstallation at another site on campus, Fenves has said.


4 thoughts on “UT president sued for removing Confederate statues

  1. Take back the land and $$$$ that the agreement was based on. See how fast that changes this JACKWAD’s mind or he loses his job

  2. Why is it that ever since Hillary Clinton lost her bid for the Presidency, all this nonsense has started. Also, why isn’t the feelings of those who want the status to remain as important as the idiots who are clamoring for removal?

    1. “Also, why isn’t the feelings of those who want the status to remain as important as the idiots who are clamoring for removal?”


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