Ole Miss student senate to vote on resolution to have state flag removed

A group of college students in Mississippi could remove the state flag from their campus, because it bears a symbol of the confederacy.

In the southern city of Oxford, Mississippi, relics of the confederacy are pervasive.

This week the University of Mississippi Associated student body senate will vote on a resolution to try and remove one of those symbols, the Mississippi state flag.

The explanation of why lies largely in the past.

"We are forever tied to the horrors of our past," said 20-year-old Sophmore Senator Allen Coon who introduced the proposal to take down the flag. "We've flown this symbol of oppression, we've defended it, we've fought for it, and it's time to recognize that that was a mistake and to move forward and show the world and our nation that we're prepared to welcome all people and respect the identity and history of all Mississippians."

Over the years Doctor Jennifer Stollman with the Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation has chronicled the complex on-campus history.

"The university leans on the Winter Institute in many ways to make sure that they're up to date, that they're creating the best most inclusive campus it can, and they're navigating some old narratives with some new expectations," Stollman said.

But not everyone wants the flag removed. Student senator Andrew Soper wrote in a petition, "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."

The school is deeply rooted in tradition, a vestige of southern history and pride and has historically been combative to change.

Already, at least three of the state's public universities do not fly the state flag, but will the state's flagship university be next?

Coon said that it will be a hard-won triumph if his resolution passes.

"Why is this something that divides us? Why can't we get behind this? Why can't we understand that this affects people everyday that they go to class, so that flag is coming down. If it doesn't pass, we'll find a way," Coon said.

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