Compiled from press and news reports
The University of Mississippi recently removed the state flag and joined several cities, counties and three Historically Black Colleges and Universities that also do not fly it.
The move comes about a week after student leaders at the university voted to remove the Mississippi state flag, which contains the Confederate battle emblem, from campus. After student leaders signed the resolution, the final decision depended on school administrators, who recently voted to remove it.
Interim Chancellor Morris Stocks, who recently ordered the Mississippi flag removed to the university’s archives, joined this past June with other state and university leaders calling for a change. In removing the flag, the University of Mississippi campus becomes the fourth public university in the state to do so, joining Jackson State University, Mississippi Valley State University and Alcorn State University, according to news reports.
“Mississippi and its people are known far and wide for hospitality and a warm and welcoming culture. But our state flag does not communicate those values,” Stocks said in recent news reports. “Our state needs a flag that speaks to who we are. It should represent the wonderful attributes about our state that unite us, not those that still divide us.”
Mississippi is the only state that incorporates the Confederate symbol as part of its flag. It joins South Carolina which removed the Confederate flag from state grounds on July 10. The June 17 shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church spurred South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to call for the removal of the Confederate flag
The decision to move the state flag in Mississippi hinged on a meeting of student leaders on Oct. 20. The student senate voted 33-15-1 to request that the university remove the flag, following three hours of respectful and impassioned debate.
“Their respect for each other, despite genuine differences of opinion, was an inspiration to us all,” Stocks said in news reports.
Stocks noted that the decision to no longer fly the state flag was not an easy one, adding that the flag means different things to different people.
“As Mississippi’s flagship university, we have a deep love and respect for our state,” Stocks said. “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. That is why the university faculty, staff and leadership have united behind this student-led initiative.”
Stocks noted that other public universities and local governments have already taken this step, and he continues to encourage state leaders to create a new flag.