The University of Mississippi removed the state's flag from its campus Monday because of its use of the Confederate flag emblem.
“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,” Interim Chancellor Morris Stocks said in a statement last June. “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.”
The removal comes less than a week after the university's student senate voted for the flag's removal. For many, including a number of students who attended a rally to support the decision, Mississippi's state flag has become a symbol supporting racial inequality with its use of the Confederate flag.
“As Mississippi’s flagship university, we have a deep love and respect for our state,” Stocks said this month. “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.”
The association with the Confederate flag and its controversy is not new. Ole Miss' sports teams are nicknamed the Rebels, a nickname also given to the states that seceded from the Union in an attempt to continue slavery.
"We can't recruit against the Confederate flag," former Ole Miss head coach Tommy Tuberville famously said in 1996, per Mike Herndon of AL.com.
Tuberville's quote, which came in a conversation with then-Ole Miss chancellor Robert Khayat, led to the university's controversial ban of flying the Confederate flag at football games. The university's decision to remove the state flag itself will polarize the fanbase but may go a long way in helping Ole Miss move on from its past.
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