UT should keep Confederate statues but add context with plaques
Posted on-line: 11:27 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015 Austin American-Statesman
Print Edition Wednesday August 12, 2015
Al Martinich and I wrote this public response to the report of the Task Force on Historical Representation of Statuary released to the president and the public yesterday morning (August 10th), arguably one of the deadest days of the year for drawing faculty, student, staff and community response.
The subject phrase summarizes our main points. We explain them more fully in the commentary here below.
We particularly were concerned about direct or indirect notions in the report (1) that our University could not openly be seen to be involved in self-examination and self-criticism and (2) that a clear statement of ethical values on an important social issue might be considered ‘inflammatory’.
Ours is a public university that proclaims on its seal that the education it offers is the guardian genius of democracy. We should obey always the Socratic principle that “the unexamined life is not worth living”—and certainly not worth paying tuition money for.
TGP and AM
By Al Martinich and Tom Palaima – Special to the Austin American-Statesman
The Task Force on Historical Representation of Statuary presented University of Texas President Gregory Fenves this week with five options for the controversial statues of Confederate leaders.
One option is to keep the statues but to add “explanatory plaques that would enhance the educational value of the six statues and provide historical context.” We think this is the best option. But it can be improved.
Al Martinich and Tom Palaima are professors at University of Texas at Austin.