AUSTIN — The Sons of Confederate Veterans group is suing the University of Texas at Austin for the second time in three years over the removal of statues from the flagship campus’ main mall.
The group’s Texas chapter argues that UT-Austin President Greg Fenves broke the law when he ordered the removal of four statues late Sunday night. Three of the statues depicted Confederate military and political leaders, and one depicted a former governor who was also the son of a Confederate veteran.
The Sons have teamed up with a descendant of George Littlefield, the former UT regent and Confederate veteran who paid for the statues to be erected before his death in 1920.
The group argues that the university is breaking the agreement it made with Littlefield, who created a bequest to pay for the commission and erection of those statues and several others on campus. The value of the monuments totaled $250,000 when they were erected nearly 100 years ago, the lawsuit claims, and they could be worth $500,000 each (or up to $3 million as a group) now.
The lawsuit also alleges that Fenves violated the plaintiffs’ free speech rights by removing the statues without public discussion. Further, the group contends that he broke state law that gives state lawmakers and historical experts decision-making power to alter monuments to Texas veterans and that he overstepped authority that lies with the UT board of regents.
The group is asking the university to remove protective wrap placed around the statues’ bases, obscuring the names and details of the men depicted there, and to halt any plans to take down a fountain at the campus mall’s south end that was also paid for by Littlefield.
Source Dallas News.