The Mississippi state flag will no longer fly over the Ole Miss campus. The University of Mississippi has removed the flag, which also features a Confederate Flag emblem, from the grounds of the Oxford college. School officials have not banned the receipt of state funds, just the official state flag. The stars and bars have adorned a corner of the state banner since 1894.
Ole Miss Interim Chancellor Morris Stocks signed an order to remove the Mississippi flag from the campus. The Confederate Flag adorned banner is being sent to the university’s archives, MSN reports. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, flag opponents mobilized the University of Mississippi Student Senate to draft a petition to have the Confederate flag emblem removed from school grounds earlier this month.
“As Mississippi’s flagship university, we have a deep love and respect for our state,” Interim Chancellor Stocks stated in a media release. “Because the flag remains Mississippi’s official banner, this was a hard decision. I understand the flag represents tradition and honor to some. But to others, the flag means that some members of the Ole Miss family are not welcomed or valued.”
— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 26, 2015
Approximately 200 people (who may or may not have been Ole Miss students) took part in an October 16 protest calling for the Mississippi state flag’s removal. The event was sponsored by the University of Mississippi Chapter of the NAACP.
This is not the first time that the university has attempted to distance itself from the various Confederate emblems which some maintain are symbols of southern heritage. Several years ago, the Ole Miss mascot, Colonel Reb, was nixed. While the sports teams are still called the Rebels, the white-haired, old man mascot, which some felt resembled a plantation owner, is no longer emblazoned on clothing, ball caps, or other items. After sticks were banned from the football stadium two decades ago, many fans no longer carried or waved small Confederate Flags on sticks or posts at games.
— ThinkProgress (@thinkprogress) October 26, 2015
“The University of Mississippi community came to the realization years ago that the Confederate battle flag did not represent many of our core values, such as civility and respect for others,” Stocks also said in his public statement about the removal of the Mississippi flag. “Since that time, we have become a stronger and better university. We join other leaders in our state who are calling for a change in the state flag.”
A handful of Mississippi cities and counties also stopped flying the state flag with the Confederate emblem after the Charleston, South Carolina church shooting. Three of the “historically black universities” also took down the official state flag. Democratic U.S. Representative Bennie Thompson refused to display his state’s flag in his office because of the Confederate Flag emblem.
The Ole Miss Associated Student Body Senate passed the Mississippi flag removal resolution by a 51-13 vote, the DM Online reports.
“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.”
The University of Mississippi has a history of racial turmoil, according to an MSN report. In 1962, black military veteran James Meredith enrolled as a student, and a massive protest erupted on the university campus.
What do you think about the decision to remove the Mississippi state flag from the Ole Miss campus?
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