Court schedules Davis hearing for August 27

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After the Sons of Confederate Veterans filed a temporary restraining order Friday, aiming to prevent UT from removing the Jefferson Davis and Woodrow Wilson statues from their locations on the Main Mall, the group’s attorney said an injunction hearing is now scheduled for Aug. 27 at 2:00 p.m.

Kirk Lyons, the attorney representing the Sons of Confederate Veterans, said a temporary restraining order hearing was scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Thursday, but the two sides reached an agreement Tuesday, effectively eliminating the need for a restraining order hearing.

"Since we already had the temporary restraining order, why did we need the hearing when we already had this?” Lyons said. “So the [University] lawyers agreed to a temporary injunction hearing."

University spokesman J.B. Bird said the agreement to have one hearing instead of two separate ones does not change UT's plans. The University will wait for a court's decision before removing statues, according to Bird.

"We are confident we will be able to move forward with the plans," Bird said. "Universities have the discretion under state law to relocate statues on their campuses."

Lyons said each side will present six witnesses, and he expects more affidavits to be filed. One of his six witnesses will be David Steven Littlefield, a retired administrator from UT's School of Pharmacy and a third cousin to George Littlefield, Lyons said. George Littlefield, a Confederate veteran, former regent and donor to the University, had the original vision to place the Davis statue on campus.

Last week, the task force commissioned by University President Gregory Fenves submitted options regarding the statues in the Main and South malls, mainly calling for the relocation of the statues on campus. President Fenves decided Thursday the Davis statue would be relocated to the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History and the statue of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson would be relocated elsewhere on campus.

The University announced Friday that the statues would be removed from the Main Mall Saturday at 10:30 a.m. However, Friday afternoon, the Sons of Confederate Veterans filed a temporary restraining order in district court, and the University agreed to not move the statues until a court reviewed the matter.

In the complaint, Lyons said President Fenves does not have the authority to move these statues.   

“UT cannot move the statues without approval from the Texas Legislature, Texas Historical Commission or the Texas Preservation Board,” Lyons said. “Fenves thinks he can act unilaterally and we beg to differ. We are going to court to let them make the decision instead of a non-elected bureaucrat.”