DSU Says ‘So Long’ To Controversial Confederate Statue After Reaching Settlement

Dixie State University in St. George, Utah is finally saying “so long” to a highly controversial bronze statue of two Confederate soldiers after a settlement was reached with its artist, Jerry Anderson, according to a press release from the university.

“The Rebels” statue depicts two soldiers, one on horseback holding a Confederate flag in one hand as he helps a fellow soldier with the other. The sculpture has now been returned to Anderson, who will donate another piece to the college for permanent display, as part of the settlement.

The settlement comes after nearly two years of dedicated work by DSU officials to move rebrand and move beyond the labels associated with the statue and the word “Dixie” itself.

“What it means is that we can officially put the Confederate identity behind us,” said Steve Johnson, university spokesman said. “Now the university can move forward.”

Dixie State University has been in possession of statue since the 1980’s, prior to receiving university status, when Anderson sold it to the school for around $35,000. It remained on campus for all to see amid much heated contention by critics.

In December 2012, school officials decided to remove the controversial statue and place it in storage. This was done in an attempt to distance themselves from the negative stigma surrounding it as it was often referred to as racist and in support of slavery. The statue was also a frequent place holder for anti-racism rallies held on campus and elicited such a strong response from students that a sheet was even thrown over its Confederate flag at one point.

Former DSU president, Stephen Nadauld, previously said, “The statue has become a lighting rod. We feel bad about that. It’s a beautiful piece of art. We are nervous something might happen to the statue. It might be vandalized.”

Anderson was less than pleased with the removal of his artwork and was highly critical of the university’s thoughts that it was racist. The Associated Press quotes him to say that the real issue with the “world today is everybody is too politically correct.”

He told the Salt Lake Tribune, “Art shouldn’t be hidden. Art is created for history. Not for what’s right and what’s wrong, but for everyone to be able to see and learn from it.”

Anderson claims that the statue was more about two soldiers helping each other and that they represented all soldiers, not just Confederate ones. He feels that the true intent behind his work has been missed, but goes on to say that he would “personally like to see it in the heart of Dixie.”

President of DSU, Dr. Richard B. Williams said in statement on the university website, “We are very appreciative of Mr. Anderson’s generous artistic contributions, not only to Dixie State University, but to the entire region. We are grateful to Jerry for working with us and we look forward to displaying his work on this campus for everyone to view and enjoy in the years to come.”

Anderson said, “I want to sincerely thank President Williams, [DUS Trustees Chair] Dr. Christina Durham, and [Trustee] Gail Smith for their time in meeting with me and for the care they showed in bringing this to a mutually beneficial resolution. I invite everyone to please come out to view the statue, take pictures of it, and enjoy it.”

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