Univ. of Arkansas board backs plan to keep Fulbright statue
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees on Wednesday approved a plan to keep a statue of the late Sen. J. William Fulbright on its flagship campus, despite calls to remove it because of his opposition to integration.
The board approved a resolution that calls for keeping the statue at its current location on the Fayetteville campus, but with “contextualization” about Fulbright’s legacy. The resolution cites a new Arkansas law that prohibits removing or relocating monuments without state approval.
The resolution approved Wednesday also called for keeping Fulbright’s name on the Fayetteville campus’s college of arts and sciences.
Fulbright was a University of Arkansas graduate and served as the university’s president for three years starting in 1939. He is known worldwide for creating an international education scholarship in his name. But the university has faced calls to remove his statue and his name from the school over his opposition to integration and civil rights legislation in the 1950s and 1960s.
Former University of Arkansas Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz, who abruptly resigned last month, recommended moving the Fulbright statue. Republican lawmakers during a hearing, however, told Steinmetz that such a move would violate the new law protecting monuments and could result in criminal charges.
The panel approved a separate resolution to remove former Arkansas Gov. Charles Brough’s from a campus dining hall due to his role in the 1919 Elaine Massacre, one of the largest racial mass killings in U.S. history. The board will also take up that proposal Wednesday.