Cities, towns, counties and schools across Mississippi have taken stands against the flag recently, including Oxford and Greenwood voting to remove the flag from public places this week.
As for the public universities, all but Mississippi University for Women has either released a statement denouncing the flag or has taken it down altogether.
In the statement released by Delta State, it says. …
As Mississippi’s most racially diverse public university, Delta State proudly embraces our region, heritage, and people. Despite being located in an area characterized by some as a place of poverty and racial inequality — the Mississippi Delta — Delta State has successfully recruited students and faculty from diverse backgrounds. We are leading conversations about race relations and building stronger communities — most notably through our award-winning race relations conference.
In many respects, Delta State University is a cultural mecca, and we celebrate this multicultural identity associated with our people, musical heritage, literature, and the arts. Those who visit the university and the Delta from around the country and abroad deserve to know we are a welcoming community.
Delta State is home to Mississippi’s only collegiate swimming and diving program, and boasts state-of-the-art facilities. Yet Delta State is not allowed to host NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships due to the design of Mississippi’s current flag. The NCAA has advised that “…the Confederate flag is a symbol of oppression to many of our players, fans and coaches. It also believes that holding NCAA pre-determined championship events in Mississippi is not in the [sic] keeping with the established criteria.”
Delta State University stands as a living testament to the successes of equality, fairness, and social justice. We will continue to recognize and reflect on Mississippi’s history, but we will also continue to provide leadership throughout the state and beyond in advancing the understanding and appreciation for our differences and our common challenges in the region.
For these reasons, Delta State University supports making a change to a symbol, such as Mississippi’s state flag, that promotes divisiveness and serves as a barrier to understanding.
Four public universities in the state do not fly the flag: Jackson State University, Mississippi Valley State University, Alcorn State University and Mississippi State University, which voted to not fly the flag on campus in 2001.
Mississippi voters decided in a 2001 election to keep the flag the state has had since Reconstruction, with the Confederate symbol in the upper left corner. People who support the banner say it represents history and heritage and results of election should be respected. Critics say the flag is a divisive reminder of slavery and segregation that hurts Mississippi’s image.
The Tupelo City Council heard comments Tuesday from people for and against removing the state flag from city property. The council is asking Attorney General Jim Hood for an explanation of state laws about displaying the flag.
The capital city of Jackson stopped flying the Mississippi flag at City Hall several years ago. Among the local governments that have removed the flag from public property in recent weeks are Clarksdale, Columbus, Grenada, Hattiesburg, Leflore County, Magnolia and Starkville. The Gulf Coast Business Council and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce have both endorsed removing the Confederate emblem from the flag.
Petal aldermen voted in July to keep flying the state flag on city property.
— from staff and wire reports
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