This article has been updated with new information.
Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ name has been spray-painted out of the highway marker located across the street from Sewell Park.
The University Police Department is currently investigating and Campus Facilities officials have confirmed that the marker was vandalized, said Jayme Blaschke, director of University News Service, in the afternoon Wednesday.
Blaschke said that the marker, that was erected in 1931 by the Daughters of the Confederacy under a permit issued by the Texas Legislature, is not technically under the jurisdiction of the university. He said that when it was erected, it was on federal land because the area in front of J.C. Kellam and Sewell Park was part of the fish hatchery. But once the university took over that property, the highway marker transferred with it. Now, the marker is under TxDOT.
“The university is in ongoing discussions with TxDOT and the Daughters of the Confederacy to have the monument removed and relocated to some other location in Hays County where the history would be preserved,” Blaschke said. “The university is committed to having the marker relocated.”
The marker became the center of controversy last fall after a statue of Jefferson Davis was removed from the University of Texas at Austin’s campus. During the week following UT’s relocation of the statue, Faculty Senate members discussed the future of Texas State’s Confederate highway marker.
“I don’t think someone who tries to secede from the country should be honored,” said Rebecca Bell-Metereau, English professor, in September.
In February, Faculty Senate sent a letter to the Texas Department of Transportation officially requesting that the monument be moved.
“While the university has told us that this memorial will eventually be taken down, it has been a much too long and drawn out process,” said May Olvera, former College Democrats Vice President.
Olvera’s friends texted her a photo of the vandalized marker after they noticed the damage while driving last night.
“It is completely understandable that students and the community become frustrated with this lack of expediency and choose to take matters into their own hands,” she said. “When the system fails, people act.”
The Hays County Historical Commission requested earlier this year that the marker be relocated rather than disposed of.
“At this point, the commission has not been able to find a place to relocate the marker, but I have been informed that it won’t be at the courthouse,” said Luanne Cullen, secretary to Kate Johnson, HCHC chairman, in February. “We do know that the marker will likely be removed from campus this spring.”
While waiting to hear back from TXDOT, university officials are working on an in-depth legal analysis of who has the proper authority to actually move the marker, said Eric Algoe, Finance and Support Services president, in February.
“For the most part, the university is indifferent as to which party actually makes the move,” Algoe said. “Whoever has the appropriate authority to do so will do so. But the university is 100 percent on board with removing the monument from our campus, regardless of which institution has to pay for its removal.”
Moving the marker would not be “tremendously expensive” to do, Algoe said.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.