12-person task force to review Jefferson Davis statue on UT campus

A statue of Jefferson Davis is seen on the University of Texas campus, Tuesday, May 5, 2015, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
A statue of Jefferson Davis is seen on the University of Texas campus, Tuesday, May 5, 2015, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Members of the task force designed to look into the future of the Jefferson Davis statue on the University of Texas Austin campus have been named.

The 12-member task force will be chaired by Gregory J. Vincent, the university’s vice president for Diversity and Community Engagement. The group is also comprised of students, faculty members and alumni.

The task force has three charges:

  • Analyze the artistic, social, and political intent of the statuary on the Main Mall, with particular focus on the statue of Jefferson Davis, as well as the historical context that they represent.
  • Review the previous controversies over the Main Mall statues and factors that are similar and different today.
  • Develop an array of alternatives for the Main Mall statues, particularly the statue of Jefferson Davis, with special attention to artistic and historical factors considering the university’s role as an educational and research institution. In providing alternatives, a discussion of the pros and cons for each alternative from the perspective of students, faculty, alumni, and other important campus constituencies will be particularly useful.

The group will submit recommendations to president Greg Fenves by Aug. 1, who will then make decisions about the placement of statues on campus. Fenves said he will consult with the Board of Regents but the final decision will ultimately be his.

Members of the task force are:

Gregory J. Vincent, Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement (chair)

Laura Beckworth, Law School alumna; Chair of UT Austin Development Board

Daina Berry, Associate Professor, Departments of History and African and African Diaspora Studies

Hector de Leon, Law School Alumnus; past president of both the UT Law Alumni Association and the Texas Exes; 2010 Distinguished Alumnus

Edmund “Ted” Gordon, Chair, Department of African and African Diaspora Studies

Rohit Mandalapu, Vice President, Student Government; Senior, College of Liberal Arts

Carlos Martinez, Associate Vice President for Governmental Relations

Lorraine Pangle, Co-director, Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas; Professor, Department of Government

Xavier Rotnofsky, President, Student Government; Senior, College of Liberal Arts

Frederick “Fritz” Steiner, Dean, School of Architecture

Marisa Swanson, President, Social Work Council; Member, Senate of College Councils; Senior, School of Social Work and College of Liberal Arts

Brian Wilkey, President, Graduate Student Assembly; Graduate Student, College of Natural Sciences

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