Letter to the editor: Confederate statues an affront to inclusivity, tolerance and diversity

I am incredibly proud to have attended the University of Texas at Austin. I am a proud Texas Ex because of the comprehensive inclusivity that UT seeks to foster, particularly in light of the fact that the State of Texas generally does not systematically empower all communities.

UT is the responsible force for good that the State of Texas desperately needs. The Confederate statues on campus are an affront to the inclusivity, tolerance and diversity that the University noticeably and commendably strives for. And, more importantly, it's an affront to current and prospective students of color, the minority-majority population of Texas and the many fair-minded white Longhorns and Texans that equally object. By choosing to continue displaying statues of Confederate symbols, the University is paying homage to individuals whom did not see all Longhorns as equal individuals or, in some instances, even as people.

The University's Nondiscrimination Policy, as set forth in the Handbook of Operating Procedures, provides for disciplinary action against students that create a hostile learning environment directed towards students of the federally protected classes, including symbolic speech. When the University is itself creating a hostile environment through the implicit and explicit messages communicated by these statues, the University must take the appropriate steps to mediate its actions. The proponents of the statues are correct when they say that these Confederate symbols are part of Texas' history. But, that history is best reserved for museums where it can be displayed in context.

I respectfully request, and trust, that UT-Austin does the right thing and removes these Confederate statues. With their removal, the University can continue to become one of the top universities in the country that can attract the requisite top talent. Hook ’Em!

Parker Sheffy is an alumnus of the University of Texas at Austin. Sheffy graduated from UT in 2011 with degrees in economics and history. Sheffy is from Katy, Texas.