The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) removed the state flag from across campus in early October, and declared that the university did not support any form of racism, discrimination or hate.
Mississippi readopted the Confederate flag within their state flag’s design in 2001, keeping the original that was flown in 1894. Ole Miss took a bold stand against the state not only as one of the first established and most financially supported public schools in the state, but also the flagship university of Mississippi.
We The Threefold Advocate stand with Ole Miss in their choice to remove the state flag from their campus. By taking down the flag, Ole Miss proclaimed to minority students, specifically African-Americans, that they are welcomed on campus.
A university should be a safe place to learn; students should not feel threatened while they are attempting to further their education and earn a degree. While We The Threefold believe that differing opinions and free speech are essential to student growth, hateful speech and symbols should not be tolerated.
The Confederate flag has been the subject of huge debate recently; opponents and supporters both argue whether the flag should be taken down across the country, basing arguments on its symbolism.
For some, the Confederate flag is a symbol of southern heritage and tradition. For others, it serves as a reminder of the evils of racism, specifically slavery and more recently, violence and segregation in the ‘50s and ‘60s.
Ole Miss has removed racial connotations in the past, replacing their mascot of Colonel Reb, seen as a caricature of a southern plantation owner, with The Black Bear. In addition, Ole Miss has a statue of James Meredith, the first African-American who attended the university, on campus as a symbol of the university’s history and the civil rights movement. The decision to remove the flag came from a vote from faculty that was first brought up and fought vehemently by the student senate.
Ole Miss took a stand. Their actions in taking down their state flag showed to many others that hate and racism is not something that Mississippi should take pride in.
Ole Miss was only one of the universities to remove the Mississippi state flag; others include Alcorn State University, Jackson State University and Mississippi Valley State University. Most importantly, students took a stand and fought together to turn over a decision that affected other students on campus.
The Ole Miss decision to remove the state flag is a landmark decision. We should not turn a blind eye to such decisions, as such events affect students on our own campus. While sheltered, we too have many minority students whose voices and concerns need to be heard.
We The Threefold urge students to consider these tense events and be respectful to those with different opinions and cultural upbringings.