University of Texas President Greg Fenves ordered the immediate removal of statues of Robert E. Lee and other prominent Confederate figures from a main area of campus, saying such monuments have become "symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism, " per the AP. Fenves announced the move Sunday night as crews were in place to begin taking the monuments down. Statues of Lee, Confederate Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, and Confederate Postmaster General John H. Reagan were being moved to the Briscoe Center for American History on campus. "The timing was designed to ensure public safety and provide minimal disruption to campus," said a university spokesperson.
Fewer than 30 people, both supporters and opponents of Fenves' order, congregated after midnight behind barricades near the statues. Though some arguments broke out, a heavy police presence helped prevent any violence. In his statement, Fenves cited "the horrific displays of hatred" that occurred in Charlottesville, Va. "These events make it clear, now more than ever, that Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism," he said. (Duke took similar action, and the city of Baltimore also used an overnight operation to remove its Confederate statutes.)