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Texas lawmaker seeks AG opinion to clarify who has authority to remove Sully statue

State Attorney General Ken Paxton is being asked to weigh-in on the future of the Lawrence Sullivan Ross monument.
Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 1:40 PM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - A Texas lawmaker has submitted a formal request for an opinion from the state’s attorney general seeking clarification on who exactly has the authority to remove the Lawrence Sullivan Ross statue from the school’s Academic Plaza.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office received the request last Friday from Representative John P. Cyrier.

Click here to view the request.

In his letter to the AG, Cyrier says the controversial statue that acknowledges, among other responsibilities, Sully’s service as a Brigadier General in the Confederate Army was funded by the Texas Legislature in 1917 and erected the following year. Cyrier says it “appears the statue was intended to honor Ross for his service as Texas Governor, President of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, and his service as a General in the Confederate Army.”

He goes on to highlight two provisions in the state code that requires legislative, Texas Historical Commission, or State Preservation Board approval to remove, relocate or alter any “monument or memorial” that is located on state property and honors a citizen of this state for military or war-related service. However, another provision exists that essentially says the rules do not apply to “a project constructed by and for a state institution of higher education.”

“Recently, President Young announced that Texas A&M University will form a Commission on Historic Representation to review statues, monuments, buildings and similar representations on its campus and suggest appropriate courses of action with respect to each of them. His announcement indicates that this commission will review issues relating to the Lawrence Sullivan Ross statue,” Cyrier wrote in his request. “Given the statutory provisions I mention above, it appears that there are questions about the authority of Texas A&M University to take certain actions relating to the Lawrence Sullivan Ross statue.”

Rep. John Cyrier is a businessman from Lockhart who is a Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives for District 17, which includes Bastrop, Caldwell, Gonzales, Karnes and Lee Counties. He is a 1995 graduate of Texas A&M University, where he served as Commander of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band.

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