Mississippi State becomes latest school to remove state flag

Mississippi State University recently joined six other universities in the Magnolia State by removing the state flag, which contains the controversial Confederate battle emblem.

According to The Reflector, university president Mark Keenum made the decision in response to requests from the deans of both the College of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, who had asked him to replace the state flag with a national flag, as had been done previously on the school’s drill field.

MSU has now removed the Mississippi flag from all locations on the campus except for the historic Perry Cafeteria, chief communications officer Sid Salter told Campus Reform.

“In our historic Perry Cafeteria, in the interior rafters, there is a longstanding display of the flags of all 50 states and a large number of foreign countries representing the home states and countries of our students,” Salter explained. “The Mississippi State flag is still part of that display.”

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“It’s a quite natural thing that the respective colleges on campus would want to emulate the display of the American flag on the Drill Field with their college and that’s what transpired,” Keenum asserted in a statement announcing the decision.

Salter acknowledged that the state flag has not been displayed on the Drill Field in roughly fifteen years, but maintained that the removal of the other flags was not due to pressure from other universities in the state that have taken similar steps.

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“The decision was reached through the orderly model of shared governance on our own campus between our administration, faculty, staff, students, and university stakeholders,” he explained, noting that conversations about the flag’s removal began in 2015 after the shooting that occurred in Charleston, South Carolina.

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“MSU’s leaders—administration, faculty and students—renewed their efforts and have again through direct contacts and the sharing of formal resolutions called on the duly elected state leaders who are constitutionally authorized to change the state flag to proceed on that course,” Salter said. “The Mississippi Legislature has not yet chosen to address the issue of the state flag.”

Salter also praised Keenum’s handling of the matter, saying the university’s president “has been outspoken in expressing his heartfelt personal support for flag change and has maintained an open dialogue with those representing diverse points of view on the question of the state flag, including the state’s elected officials and higher education governance.”

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