UPDATE: The University of Texas has removed the statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis from its central position on the school’s Main Mall. The Daily Texan reports that a forklift carried the cellophane-wrapped Davis statue away Sunday morning.
EARLIER: The University of Texas has the authority to remove a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis from its Austin campus, a judge has ruled.
KVUE-TV reports that Travis County Judge Karin Crump rejected a request from the Sons of Confederate Veterans for an injunction that would have blocked the university from carrying out its plans to move the statue from the main area of the campus to a history museum elsewhere on the campus.
The debate over the Davis statue arose earlier this year after the racially motivated killings of African Americans at a church in South Carolina brought about increased attention to public displays of the Confederate flag and other symbols of the Confederacy that many considered offensive.
Students at the University of Texas who said Davis's racist views conflicted with the values of the university, petitioned the school to remove the statue, and university officials created a commission to study the issue.
Earlier this month, University President Greg Fenves decided that the statue would be moved inside the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History on the Austin campus.
"While every historical figure leaves a mixed legacy, I believe Jefferson Davis is in a separate category, and that it is not in the university’s best interest to continue commemorating him on our Main Mall," Fenves said in a letter announcing his decision. "Davis had few ties to Texas; he played a unique role in the history of the American South that is best explained and understood through an educational exhibit."
In trying to stop the statue's move, the Sons of Confederate Veterans contended that moving it would violate the will of the man who donated funds to build the statue. But the judge, noting that the terms of the will call for the statue to be put in a place of prominence, ruled that the university had the right to determine where that place of prominence is.
Video from KVUE-TV: