The debate over removing Confederate symbols from public grounds is heating up on a major college campus in Texas.
According to Austin American-Statesman reporter Ralph Haurwitz, someone tagged “black lives matter” in graffiti across three statues of Confederate leaders on the UT-Austin campus.
UT-Austin has four major statues of Confederate leaders at different locations on campus.
The incident comes after nine people were killed at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Alleged shooter Dylann Roof reportedly made racist statements before killing the parishioners. Before the shooting, Roof also posed for pictures with Confederate flags and other racially charged paraphernalia on his website.
The shooting has sparked a national debate about the placement of symbols honouring the Confederacy on public grounds.
On Tuesday, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) announced that the state would remove the Confederate flag that flies at the state capitol. Now, many are calling for Mississippi to change its state flag, which actually features the original Confederate state flag as part of its design.
Pressure is building in the state to remove the statues at UT-Austin. A Change.org petition has garnered thousands of signatures, and on Tuesday, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) called on Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) and Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush to take the statues down.
The school is debating whether to remove the statues. According to the Texas Tribune, UT Austin President Greg Fenves met with students on Monday to discuss the issue.
UT-Austin did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
This isn’t the first time that the statues have been vandalised. As the Texas Tribune notes, in April someone tagged “Davis Must Fall” on the statue of Jefferson Davis.
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