Texas A&M University Police open criminal investigation into Sully statue vandalism

Published: Jun. 10, 2020 at 5:59 PM CDT
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Texas A&M University Police have opened an investigation after the Sully Statue on campus was vandalized.

Early Wednesday, spray paint covered the sculpture of Lawrence Sullivan Ross. The statue sits in front of the Academic Building in the heart of campus and was installed in 1918.

The words "Racist" and "BLM" are tagged across the base of the statue.

Texas A&M University staff quickly covered the statue with a tarp Wednesday morning. Later in the afternoon, metal fencing and screens were installed around the sidewalks, keeping the public much farther back.

UPD said the person responsible could face misdemeanor to felony charges depending on the cost of damage.

Police and university officials wouldn't say where they are in the investigation. The statue was similarly vandalized in 2018.

Cameras were installed in the plaza to catch anyone who might damage the statue.

"It just makes me really sad that everyone hates each other so much and they see division. I'm so torn," said Christine Fralick, a Texas A&M student.

Many on campus hope the person responsible is prosecuted.

"It's criminal at its core and I just would hate to see this go on unpunished because you just don't want it to happen over and over again. I just see a slippery slope. Once you do deface one thing with no punishment, then what's going to stop it from happening again," said Thomas Schepmann, a Texas A&M student.

"It is a public university and it is public property. No one has the right to vandalize any public property whatsoever," said Sambandh Dhal, a Texas A&M Ph.D. student.

Last week KBTX reported on separate petitions. One wants to have the statue removed while other Aggies would like to have it stay. Ross was a former university president many see as a key figure. He also served the Confederacy during the Civil War.

"This statue here isn’t to commemorate the Confederates. It's to commemorate our former president who saved this university from going completely under. It’s not a war memorial," said Hunter Don Watts, a Texas A&M student.

"This has been a really big problem in our country for a really long time. I don’t think that vandalizing and sort of fighting hate with hate is the way to go," said Fralick.

The university is working on figuring out how much it will cost to repair the damage. It's not clear when the statue will be cleaned up.