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SGA hears resolution supporting removal of Confederate monument on the Square

SGA hears resolution supporting removal of Confederate monument on the Square

September 20
23:50 2017

The UNT Student Government Association discussed a resolution declaring support for the removal of the Confederate monument from the Denton square in their general meeting Wednesday.

Senator Jordan Villarreal from the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences read the bill and answered questions following the reading.

The resolution reads, “The Student Government Association of the University of North Texas stands firmly against any reactionary, revisionist sentiments and fully supports the complete removal of Denton County’s Confederate memorial.”

The reasoning for this declaration includes references in the resolution to the Lost Cause movement which encouraged such monuments, the date of the monument’s erection, the honorary text of its plaque, a lack of historical context and the monument’s existence in a public place.

SGA senators Jordan Villarreal, Misaki Collins, Luis Avila and Pamela Ashwood from the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS), as well as Ram Prasanna from the College of Science and Zane Motlagh from the College of Business, submitted the resolution to the Senate.

During the question and answer portion of the meeting following Villarreal’s reading of the resolution, he clarified that the document only pertained to SGA’s support for the removal of the monument, and not its replacement or where it might be moved to. He said it was important for the student government to take a stand even if they couldn’t change anything directly.

“I think it’s always important for SGA to take a stance just because we are the governing body of the students,” CLASS Senator Misaki Collins said. “It’s really evident, especially in the Denton community where there’s always protests on the Square, the monument is a problem.”

Political science senior Villarreal said he was inspired to draft the resolution after speaking with Willie Hudspeth, a local civil rights activist who has been campaigning for changes to the monument for 18 years. Villarreal pointed out the effect of the recent white supremacist killing of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville as a cause for increased attendance at the demonstrations.

If approved, the resolution would be posted to the SGA website and social media. Copies of the resolution would be sent to the Denton County Commissioners’ Court, Denton City Council, the Denton County Historical Commission and the Texas Historical Commission.

“I’m under the impression that the Confederate South was fighting for slavery and had a disdain for the U.S. Constitution,” Physics junior Ram Prasanna said. “Those two traits compounded go against UNT morals. As UNT has a big place in Denton, the statue should be relocated into a museum where it doesn’t glorify the Confederacy and has proper historical context.”

Although the Denton County Commissioner’s Court added a plaque near the monument in 2010, Villarreal said it wasn’t enough. The Commissioner’s Court meets every Tuesday at 9 a.m. in the Denton County Courthouse Museum on the Square and includes a public comment section at the beginning of each meeting.

Denton County Judge Mary Horn reacted to a recent increase in the number of commenters by decreasing speaking time from three to two minutes if more than 15 people spoke. This week, she capped the number of people who can speak before the meeting at five. Commenters can still speak after the meeting agenda is complete.

“It’s disgusting and abhorrent and I hope she loses her seat,” Villarreal said about the latest change, distinguishing the opinion as a personal one and not representative of SGA.  

SGA plans to reach out to the Graduate Student Council at UNT as well as student government representatives at TWU and area community colleges. The goal is to learn how they feel about the monument and potentially cooperate moving forward.

Students who wish to offer their opinion on the resolution can reach out to Senators via email or social media, or visit them during office hours.

SGA will vote on the resolution at their 5:30 p.m. general body meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 27. The meeting is open to the public. The full resolution can be read here.

Featured Image: Members of the Student Government Association heard from senators about a resolution supporting the removal of the Confederate monument on the Square on Wednesday. Kelsey Shoemaker

About Author

Sarah Sarder

Sarah Sarder

Sarah Sarder is the Senior News Writer for the North Texas Daily.

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1 Comment

  1. Mary
    Mary September 23, 20:45

    Sorry but I’m a lifetime resident of Denton and I don’t believe SGA has any right to come into Denton and start making plans to revamp our city. Most of you are going to leave when you finish your education so when you get to your permanent, work on that town and leave Denton alone. Practice causing division elsewhere.

    Reply to this comment

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