A Confederate heritage group sued the University of Texas at Austin on Thursday for removing several Confederate statues from its campus earlier this week.

UT-Austin spokesman J.B. Bird confirmed Thursday that the university had received the lawsuit by the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Late Sunday night, 10 days before fall classes were scheduled to start, workers at the University of Texas at Austin removed statues of Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston and John Reagan. In an email sent to the campus community just before 11 p.m. Sunday night, University president Greg Fenves announced that the statues depict parts of American history that "run counter to the university's core values." A statue of former Texas Gov. James Stephen Hogg was also marked for removal.

Bird said the university would not comment on pending litigation but that the relocation of the statues "was handled appropriately."

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The decision to remove the statues, which happened roughly a week after unrest in Charlottesville, Virginia, surrounding the removal of a Confederate statue in that town, prompted mixed reactions from Texas officials.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans has previously sued the university over Confederate statues. In 2015, they unsuccessfully tried to block the removal of a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Read related Tribune coverage:

  • Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick criticized the overnight removal of several Confederate statues from the University of Texas at Austin’s campus while U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz called the decision "the university’s prerogative." [Full story]

  • In a surprise move, workers at the University of Texas at Austin removed multiple Confederate statues from a prominent grass mall on campus late Sunday night. [Full story]

  • Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is furious with the Six Flags amusement park chain over its decision to take down the Confederate flag and four others that had flown over the park. [Full story]

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