University of Texas President Greg Fenves on Sunday announced that he had ordered the immediate removal of several Confederate monuments on the school’s campus in Austin.
“Last week, the horrific displays of hatred at the University of Virginia and in Charlottesville shocked and saddened the nation,” he said in a statement.
“These events make it clear, now more than ever, that Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism,” Fenves added.
“The historical and cultural significance of the Confederate statues on our campus – and the connections that individuals have with them – are severely compromised by what they symbolize.”
Fenves’ announcement late Sunday came as crews began work to remove four statues.
A University of Texas spokesman said that the four monuments are expected to be gone by mid-Monday morning.
Fenves said the statues impacted depict Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Albert Sidney Johnson, plus Confederate Postmaster Gen. John H. Reagan.
The school is also moving a statue of former Gov. James Stephen Hogg, a spokesman said, which was commissioned during the same time period as the others.
The statues will join a previously relocated monument of Confederate President Jefferson Davis at the Brisco Center for American History on campus.
The statue of Davis was removed from a spot near the campus clock tower in 2015 before getting moved to the history museum.
Fenves said that the context surrounding the monuments had become too intertwined with white supremacy.
“Erected during the period of Jim Crow laws and segregation, the statues represent the subjugation of African Americans,” he said.
“That remains true for white supremacists today who use them to symbolize hatred and bigotry.”
National debate is raging over Confederate symbols following protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the subject earlier this month that turned violent.
One person died and 19 more were injured when a car drove into a crowd of protesters demonstrating against white nationalism there.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.