As students rally for the removal of the Jefferson Davis statue from campus, the statues of Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston, and Davis were vandalized early Tuesday morning.
The three statues were marked with the words “Black Lives Matter” in thick red spray paint. Davis’ statue also had the words “Bump All The Chumps.” The statues celebrate important figures in the Confederacy — Davis was the president of the Confederacy, and Johnston and Lee were Confederate generals.
Workers clean graffiti off of the Robert E. Lee statue Tuesday morning. Tess Cagle | Daily Texan Staff
University of Texas Police Department found the graffiti around 7 a.m. and notified maintenance immediately, UTPD spokesperson Cindy Posey said.
They are also currently investigating the situation, Posey added.
Maintenance Supervisor Herb Woerndell said he heard about the graffiti around 8 a.m. Lee’s and Johnson’s statues are mounted on bases of granite, which made the cleanup process easier. While those statues took around an hour to clean, Woerndell said the Davis statue vandalism refused to come off cleanly.
Woerndell has not seen any racially charged graffiti in his 15 years at the University up until this year.
“[The first time I saw racially charged graffiti was when] that statue got tagged a couple of months ago,” Woerndell said. “Mostly the graffiti I've seen over my 15 years has been sports related — over [Texas A&M and UT] football teams — and a lot of gang type symbols I don't understand.”
A worker cleans graffiti off of the Albert Sidney Johnston statue Tuesday morning. Jesús Nazario | Daily Texan Staff
The Davis statue has been tagged twice this year, once in March and once in April, with similar messages demanding its removal from campus.
As of noon Tuesday, maintenance was still working on the Davis statue graffiti. If the power washing does not work, they have other methods of cleaning, Woerndell said.
“There's some cleaner we can let set for 12–24 hours,” Woerndell said. “Since we've pressure-washed and [the statue has] been scarred before, I just don't want to leave the lines from graffiti permanently embedded — it's got to be blended in.”
Student Government President Xavier Rotnofsky said he disapproved of the graffiti.
“I don't condone vandalism as a method to get the message across,” Rotnofsky said. “At this point, we’re working with administration to move forward and address these issues, and it doesn't help the cause.”