The University of Texas police are looking into some strange activity at the South Mall on campus early Saturday morning.
The department said patrolling officers discovered a small group of predominately white males wearing American flag masks trying to light Tiki torches around midnight.
After a warning from officers, police said the group extinguished the torches, removed their masks and left campus.
Investigators are working to learn more details.
On Saturday, UT President Greg Fenves released the following statement:
Dear UT Community:
Early this morning, a small group of demonstrators, some wearing face masks and carrying torches, came onto the Main Mall on The University of Texas at Austin campus. University police immediately directed them to leave, which they did.
The University of Texas is committed to free speech and the robust exchange of ideas among students, employees and invited visitors — but our campus is not open for non-university-affiliated groups to stage protests or gatherings. Those that have been warned about these rules and do not leave or who return to campus are subject to arrest. These demonstrators were also in clear violation of a number of our official policies intended to protect safety, including a ban on masks and open flames.
The actions of white supremacists and other hate groups are completely anathema to UT’s values, and I abhor what they represent. These are difficult times for our nation, with movements fueled by hatred increasingly taking root, as we saw in Charlottesville and elsewhere. We must continue to denounce these ugly, un-American ideas in the strongest terms.
We are committed to maintaining an inclusive environment for all who come here to learn, grow and discover. We, as a community, are responsible for defining who we are and what we stand for.
The actions of a hate group do not define us. They never will. We stand, united, against hatred.