I can understand the arguments on all sides of this issue, but I’m inclined to oppose removing the statutes. (I knew them well when I lived 2 blocks from the south mall at UT, and made lots of late night walks on campus) History is history and it is messy, complicated and sometimes downright ugly. I think that whitewashing the history of the Confederacy is not the answer, but rather it is important reframe that history. Tell the rest of the story. I think the beautiful and inspiring Dr. Martin Luther King statute on the east mall (I was incredibly proud to be at the dedication ceremony for that statute when I lived in Austin) is a good start, but I think it might make sense to erect some statues to other civil rights leaders on campus.
In fact my first recommendation would be of Cesar Chavez. He should be on campus for sure.
And another idea… why don’t they make a statute honoring the janitorial and physical plant staff of UT? Those folks have worked and worked through the decades but are so often ignored and overlooked. Why not celebrate their contribution?