UT will reinstall the statue of former Texas governor James Hogg on campus, according to a recent announcement from President Gregory Fenves. The statue was removed from the Main Mall in August 2017, along with the statues of several confederates, such as Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis.
While Hogg was not an active member of the Confederacy, his father served as a general in the Confederate army, and Hogg supported deeply problematic policies during his time as governor. Hogg signed the first Jim Crow bills into law in 1891, spurring on an era of segregation, racist rhetoric and hate crimes.
Re-installing the Hogg statue on UT’s campus is an homage not just to Hogg but also to his role in institutionalizing racism. His statue has no place on UT’s campus.
“Knowing Hogg’s history, it’d be painful for me to have to walk past his statue,” said Revathi Rajan, an electrical engineering freshman.
UT director of media relations and newsroom J.B. Bird said that the statue’s removal was not due to Hogg’s views but because of the structure of the exhibit.
“For symmetrical purposes, it wouldn’t make sense to have it as the only statue remaining on the Main Mall, so it was taken down as well,” Bird said.
Bird also said the University is aware of Hogg’s controversial views but it stands by the statue as a representation of history.
“Hogg has a nuanced history,” Bird said. “He did help usher in the era of Jim Crow, but he also urged the state to adopt an anti-lynching law. Like a lot of figures from his era, he had a complicated history.”
However, there is a difference between representing history and revering it. We acknowledge our history in museums and textbooks and we honor our history by erecting statues. If UT wants to acknowledge that Hogg is a part of Texas’s history, they should put his statue in a campus historical center, not as a monument on campus.
Bird also said that regardless of Hogg’s views, his children had a positive impact on the University. They all supported public education, donated to the University and his children created the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health at UT.
UT acknowledges the impact of Hogg’s children. The Will C. Hogg building is named after Hogg’s eldest son, and the Hogg Foundation strives to fulfill Ima Hogg’s vision for it.
Thus, the legacies of the Hogg children are appropriately upheld. Their father’s statue is not necessary to acknowledge their contributions to UT.
The presence of Hogg’s statue promotes an environment that is not inclusive to students of color.
“Almost every single day, I feel like I have to prove to everyone that I belong on campus, that I can do what everyone else is doing because I am a different color than the majority of the people in this city,” Rajan said. “I don’t need another reminder that some people think I don’t belong here.”
Hogg’s beliefs are archaic and should not be reflected by the UT campus.
Zaksek is a Plan II and women’s and gender studies freshman from Allen.