University Of Mississippi Orders State Flag Removed

26 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Ole Miss removes Mississippi flag with Confederate emblem.

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — The University of Mississippi quietly took down the state flag on Monday, heeding the calls of those who say its divisive Confederate battle emblem is harming the school’s future in an age of diversity. The Mississippi flag was taken down at the state’s public university Monday morning, after student leaders, faculty and staff called for its removal because of its prominent Confederate emblem.

A student-led resolution had been calling for the removal of the flag, and the removal finally came days after the student senate, the faculty senate, and other groups adopted the resolution. It was a dramatic change for a university long proud of its southern traditions and ties to the Confederacy, a school that closed down entirely during the Civil War when nearly all of its students enlisted, and one that was at the center of a seminal moment in the civil rights movement. Campus police officers furled it from the flagpole where it flew under the U.S. flag, between the white-columned main administration building and a marble statue of a saluting Confederate soldier.

The flag will now be sent to the university’s archives, according to Interim Chancellor Morris Stocks. “As Mississippi’s flagship university, we have a deep love and respect for our state,” Mr. Days earlier, the student and faculty senates voted to urge its removal from the Oxford campus, a bastion for Southern elites since its founding in 1848. The resolution says the flag’s presence on campus “undermines efforts to promote diversity and create a safe, tolerant academic environment for all students.” While many other flags take inspiration from the Confederate flag, Mississippi’s is the only state flag that incorporates the Confederate emblem in its design. The flag carried by the South’s pro-slavery Confederacy during the 1861-1865 Civil War emerged as a national flashpoint after the massacre of nine black people at a historic church in Charleston, South Carolina, in June. But to others, the flag means that some members of the Ole Miss family are not welcomed or valued.” The flag became a lightning rod for controversy in June when a white gunman massacred nine black worshippers during bible study in Charleston, S.C.

That is why the university faculty, staff and leadership have united behind this student-led initiative.” Ole Miss police officers lowered it as the campus opened, and folded it for storage in the archives along with the written resolutions from campus groups. Writing for The Christian Science Monitor a week after the Charleston massacre, Patrik Jonsson said that the Confederate legacy, once “set in stone” in the South, is now “up for debate like never before.” “Almost overnight, Americans are deeply questioning the role and permanence of state-sanctioned symbols of a past regime founded on white supremacy in a present multiethnic and pluralistic society,” writes Mr. In a statement on Monday, he noted that Mississippi voters overwhelmingly endorsed the state flag’s current design in a 2001 referendum. “I believe publicly funded institutions should respect the law as it is written today.

He wrote, “‘Sending these boys off to war it is like grinding the seed corn of the republic,’ Sansing said. “We lost a generation of young men in that war.” When the school reopened in 1865, most of the students were Confederate veterans. That’s where deadly white riots broke out in 1962, when James Meredith was enrolled as the university’s first black student, under a federal court order and with protection from a phalanx of U.S. marshals. Today’s students forced this issue as the governor and most state lawmakers seek re-election on Nov. 3, and many politicians have avoided staking positions. Despite a recent push to retire the flag, The Associated Press reports that some lawmakers have skirted away from staking out positions in the run-up to Nov. 3 elections.

Thad Cochran in 2014, and insisted that “Ole Miss should fly it, as long as they remain a publicly funded university.” “Universities are supposed to be marketplaces of ideas, not cocoons designed for coddling the feelings of the perpetually offended,” the tea party favorite posted Monday on his Facebook page. Though the school officially parted ways with “Colonel Reb” in 2003, it wasn’t until 2010 that the school ended Colonel Reb merchandise sales and officially adopted a black bear as its new mascot. Even today, there’s still a struggle over the team’s nickname, “Rebels,” and its ubiquitous nickname, “Ole Miss” (a name traditionally used by slaves to address a plantation owner’s wife). But, Ole Miss student, faculty and administrative leaders quickly endorsed its demotion after more than 200 people attended a remove-the-flag rally on Oct. 16 that was organized by the university’s NAACP chapter. “Mississippians overwhelmingly voted in 2001 to adopt the current Mississippi state flag. One student said, “‘What do you think is the difference between the students here today who gave you a standing ovation and those 10 years ago who threw rocks at you, hurled insults?’” Sansing recalled that Meredith responded, “‘There is no difference.

At a rally in support of the flag’s removal earlier this month, Ole Miss students were confronted by people angry that the state’s history might be whitewashed, and by KKK members. Athletic director Ross Bjork, who has said the flag makes recruiting more difficult, was part of a leadership team that met with the interim chancellor over the weekend and praised his decision to remove it. I think it represents adequately our core values of what we want to be.” Associated Press writer Jeff Amy contributed from Oxford, and Emily Wagster Pettus reported from Jackson.

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