Jefferson Davis statue vandalized once again, this time with spray paint

Sebastian Herrera

The Jefferson Davis statue on the South Mall was defaced at some point between Wednesday night and early Thursday morning, this time by something more permanent than chalk.

The statue had “Davis must fall” and “Emancipate UT” written on both the north and south sides of its base, written in red and yellow spray paint. 

UTPD discovered the graffiti at 8:42 a.m. on Thursday and contacted University Facilities Services to remove it, according to UTPD spokeswoman Cindy Posey. 

“We will always look into any type of graffiti on campus,” Posey said. “We will investigate into who did it.” 

Cleaning the graffiti from the statue took approximately three hours and cost an estimated $225 in labor and maintenance, according to Laurie Lentz, Campus Planning & Facilities Management communications manager.  

The statue has stirred controversy on campus because Davis served as the president of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. In late March, Student Government voted almost unanimously in support of the statue’s removal. 

The statue was also defaced on Feb. 27, when the word “chump” and an arrow pointing at Davis’ face was written in blue chalk on statue’s base.

The statue’s removal was a major platform in newly-elected SG President Xavier Rotnofsky and Vice President Rohit Mandalapu’s election campaign. Mandalapu said the statue’s most recent defacement proves that many students are frustrated with what the statue symbolizes. 

“I think that statue serves to marginalize a portion of students at the university, especially a lot of underrepresented minorities, and that’s not what this university should stand for,” Mandalapu said. “People are interested in this issue and clearly have a point to make about it. With that being said, I think there are better ways [than graffiti] to go about expressing how you feel.” 

The Davis statue, together with a nearby statue of former President Woodrow Wilson, are meant to show how the American effort in World War I brought the nation together after the split caused by the Civil War, according to UT spokesman Gary Susswein.

“In previous decades, there have been proposals to remove the statue,” Susswein said. “The University administration chose, at those times, to leave them in place, but also to emphasize the University’s values by adding prominently-placed statues of such leaders as Martin Luther King and Barbara Jordan. As with all Student Government proposals, this one will be sent to the president’s office, where it will be reviewed and carefully considered by university leaders.”

Clarification: This article has been amended since its original publication. The vandalism took place some time between Wednesday night and Thursday morning.