University of Texas at Austin has removed four statues on campus overnight, three of which memorialize Confederate figures, on the orders of university President Greg Fenves.
Crews got to work late Sunday removing statues depicting Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston, John Reagan and James Stephen Hogg from the university's Main Mall.
In a letter to students, faculty and staff Sunday night, Fenves pointed to the events of the past week as motivation for his action:
"The horrific displays of hatred at the University of Virginia and in Charlottesville shocked and saddened the nation," Fenves wrote. "These events make it clear, now more than ever, that Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism."
Fenves says the three statues depicting Confederates will be moved to the Briscoe Center for American History, and the statue of Hogg will be considered for re-installation somewhere else on campus.
Hogg, who was Texas governor from 1891 to 1895, did not serve in the Confederacy. UT-Austin spokesman J.B. Bird told the Texas Tribune that the university had no objection to Hogg's statue, but "the entire statuary is one exhibit, so it all goes together."
UT police kept reporters and onlookers far from the crews, amid concerns about security.
Back in 2015, the university removed a statue of Confederacy President Jefferson Davis, along with one of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson.
That move came after Fenves commissioned a panel to examine the possible options for the statue. Four out of five of the options presented recommended removing the Davis statue. The university also held two public hearings on the statues.