Photographs from the scene showed workers using heavy machinery to pull the statues down. A university spokesman says the area has been blocked off.
"The university will be looking for a new home on campus for the Hogg statue", Bird said. Some snapped selfies, while a few climbed up the structures where the statues once stood. The university doesn't begin classes until next week.
"We do not choose our history, but we choose what we honor and celebrate on our campus", Fenves said.
Following the statues' removal, Austin Mayor Steve Adler released a statement saying, "Putting these statues in a history museum appropriately puts this past where it belongs".
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has said he is against the removal of Confederate statues.
"They have no other reasons than 'you are erasing our history.' Their reasoning is flawed". That attack, by a white supremacist at a black church, galvanized the debate over Confederate symbols across the country.
The action comes after white nationalists marched last Saturday to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a counterprotester was killed amid violent clashes between demonstrators. "These events make it clear, now more than ever, that Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism", Fenves wrote in a letter to the UT community. The Davis statue had always been a target of vandalism. Following those conversations and a review of the 2015 task force report, he chose to relocate the remaining four statues. Lawsuits filed to stop its removal were unsuccessful.
During the past several days, I have talked with student leaders, students, faculty members, staff members and alumni to listen to their views after the revelatory events in Charlottesville.
The University of Texas at Austin has a duty to preserve and study history.
There are about 700 monuments to the Confederacy in public spaces across the United States, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, with the majority of them erected early in the 20th century amid a backlash among segregationists against the civil rights movement. Hogg will get another place on campus.
The Lee, Johnston and Reagan statues will be added to the collection of the Briscoe Center for scholarly study on campus where they can be displayed in historical context, Fenves said.
"We've seen what happened elsewhere", Susswein said. It was "also to minimize the disruption to campus".