Ole Miss flag opponents mobilized the University of Mississippi Student Senate to draft a petition to have the Confederate flag emblem removed from school grounds.
Once the University of Mississippi student leaders sign the resolution sparked by the petition, it will be up to college officials to take action on any proposed changes to the Mississippi state flag, the DM Online reports. The Associated Student Body Senate (ASB) approved the removal resolution by a 51-13 vote on Tuesday.
Ole Miss ASB Attorney General Loden Walker said the resolution will be sent to university president Rod Bridges for signing. If Bridges signs the measure, it will then be forwarded to the school administration and formally recognized by the dean of students, vice chancellor of student affairs, and the interim chancellor.
The University of Mississippi is located in the city of Oxford. The area has a history of racial turmoil, according to an MSN report. In 1962, a violent protest broke out when black military veteran James Meredith enrolled as a student.
“Seeing an institution with such an unpleasant history take steps toward progress can have an immense impact on the decisions of lawmakers,” University of Mississippi NAACP Chapter Vice President Tysianna Marino said. “We have the ability to show the nation Mississippi is not stagnant. We are ready for progress.”
— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) October 21, 2015
The Mississippi flag with the Confederate emblem flies near a campus monument that honors Civil War soldiers who fought for the South.
— Independent US (@IndyUSA) October 21, 2015
The University of Mississippi student population is reportedly about 14.3 percent black. The state’s population breakdown by race indicates that approximately 37.5 residents are African American.
“We will not stop organizing until we have secured for ourselves and our future students a safe space where one can grow intellectually, and not feel uncomfortable navigating in an oppressive environment with such a blatant symbol of hate,” Buka Okoye, president of the University of Mississippi NAACP, said.
The campus NAACP chapter held a rally to support the removal of the current Ole Miss flag. The students also reportedly want all Confederate flag symbols removed from university grounds.
University of Mississippi Interim Chancellor Morris Stocks has denounced the Ole Miss flag. At least one other school official did not give any indication about whether or not the college will remove the flag. Input from other student representative bodies on campus may be sought before any decision about the flag is made.
Some students and campus groups are rallying around the Ole Miss flag. Andrew Soper started an online petition at Change.org in an effort to keep the traditional banner flying. Soper was reportedly asked to remove his petition. A second petition on the same website is now calling for his impeachment from his student leadership position.
The following is an excerpt from the online petition to keep the Mississippi flag in place at the university.
“The University of Mississippi NAACP chapter and College Democrats are working together to remove the flag of the state of Mississippi from The university of Mississippi campus. In order to live in a free society, the possibility to be offended will occasionally occur. Removing symbols, flags, and monuments will do nothing to change the way people feel in their hearts. Ole Miss Students and my fellow Mississippians, rise up and push back on political correctness and support the state flag.”
“Politically correct positions should not be forced onto the students of the University of Mississippi by a few liberal leaning students and organizations, and media bias,” Soper said.
What do you think about the movement to remove the Ole Miss flag from University of Mississippi grounds?
[Image via Katherine Welles/Shutterstock.com]