Monday, August 21, 2017

Fenves defies Abbott over statues (and how will Abbott respond?!?)

Leland Freeman took the photo of the statue last night

"I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when your terror comes,"
Proverbs 1:26

We're basically agnostic on the whole Confederate statues issue, but with UT taking down their statues last night there's a political angle that's worth noting.

Governor Abbott five days ago:
Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday weighed in on the renewed debate over Confederate monuments in Texas, saying that removing them "won't erase our nation's past, and it doesn't advance our nation's future."

Abbott's statement follows deadly violence that broke out Saturday at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where participants were protesting the proposed removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. The unrest in Charlottesville led elected officials in some of Texas' biggest cities to begin looking into taking down similar monuments in their areas.

"Racist and hate-filled violence – in any form — is never acceptable, and as Governor I have acted to quell it," Abbott said in the statement. "My goal as governor is to eliminate the racist and hate-filled environment we are seeing in our country today."

"But we must remember that our history isn't perfect," Abbott added. "If we do not learn from our history, we are doomed to repeat it. Instead of trying to bury our past, we must learn from it and ensure it doesn’t happen again. Tearing down monuments won't erase our nation's past, and it doesn't advance our nation's future.
Greg Fenves last night:
During the past several days, I have talked with student leaders, students, faculty members, staff members and alumni to listen to their views after the revelatory events in Charlottesville. I also revisited the very thorough 2015 task force report. After considering the original task force report and with the events of the past week and my discussions with the campus community in mind, I have decided to relocate the remaining four statues.

The statues depicting Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston, John Reagan and James Stephen Hogg are now being removed from the Main Mall. The Lee, Johnston and Reagan statues will be added to the collection of the Briscoe Center for scholarly study. The statue of James Hogg, governor of Texas (1891-1895), will be considered for re-installation at another campus site.


We do not choose our history, but we choose what we honor and celebrate on our campus. As UT students return in the coming week, I look forward to welcoming them here for a new academic year with a recommitment to an open, positive and inclusive learning environment for all.
Bottom Line: Greg Abbott has been very accommodating to the University of Texas over the years.  But if there's one thing we've learned about Greg Abbott in recent weeks, it's that he doesn't seem to like open defiance (see: Straus, Joe).  Stay tuned, this just might get interesting....

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