‘Black Lives Matter’ graffiti appears on Confederate memorial on South Mall

Ellie Breed

A Confederate soldier’s memorial was marked with the words “Black Lives Matter,” near the Littlefield Fountain on campus early Thursday morning.

Cindy Posey, UTPD’s public information officer, said police are still investigating who is responsible.

The vandalism, which has since been removed by University staff, followed reports of the second fatal shooting of a black man by police in the last two days.

Philando Castile, 32, was shot dead by a police officer outside St. Paul, Minnesota during a traffic stop on Wednesday, and Alton Sterling, 37, was fatally shot by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Tuesday. The Austin Justice Coalition and Black Lives Matter Austin will host an event to commemorate their lives at Givens Park at 8 p.m. Thursday.

Confederate memorials and statues on campus have been the subject of controversy for many years, but graffiti protests have increased in the past year. This is the seventh incident this year in which “Black Lives Matter” graffiti has appeared on campus.

In February, “Black Lives Matter” was painted in five different locations around campus after a black teenager was fatally shot by a police officer in Austin. Earlier, in 2015, the message was painted on the Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston and Jefferson Davis statues following the Charleston, South Carolina shooting. The Jefferson Davis statue has since been moved to the Briscoe Center, sparking debate among the campus community.