Mississippi State University Removes State Flag From Campus

mississippi state flag

Update: Mississippi University for Women also announced earlier today that it will no longer fly the state flag on campus. That leaves Delta State University as the last school standing.

Up until this morning MSU was the only state university that still flew the state flag on campus. Pressure on other campuses and in municipalities across the state has led to its removal owing to its inclusion of the Confederate battle flag in its design.

The university released the following statement announcing the decision earlier today:

Since 2001, Mississippi State University’s Faculty Senate. MSU’s Student Association governing bodies and MSU’s administration have supported changing Mississippi’s state flag. Despite that institutional support, the voters of Mississippi did not approve the 2001 voter referendum effort to change the state flag.

After the 2015 church shooting atrocity in Charleston, South Carolina, 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. The Mississippi Legislature has not yet chosen to address the issue of the state flag.

MSU President Mark E. Keenum 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.

Under our process of shared governance, the leadership in our individual colleges have flexibility in making decisions about operations under their jurisdiction. In keeping with that process, requests were made recently to replace the Mississippi flag in several locations with a larger American flag to better conform to our very large American flag which flies over the Drill Field (MSU’s primary campus green space), and Dr. Keenum approved those requests.

Dr. Keenum has said repeatedly that the issue related to whether Mississippi should change its state flag is not going to be resolved on our campus. That decision rests in Jackson with our elected leaders. Our focus at MSU should be and will be directed toward meeting the needs of the all-time record student enrollment this fall and on advancing our core mission of teaching, research and service.

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. The Mississippi state flag is still part of that display.

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2 comments… add one
  • James Simcoe Aug 30, 2016

    How about a flag that is a thing of beauty? A large magnolia flower surrounded by those deep green leaves. Or an entire tree against a white background, or a Delta early evening salmon pink sky – a ribbon of blue at the bottom for the Old River. Imagine a flag that makes EVERYBODY happy. Is shared happiness a christian virtue?

  • Nathan Towne Sep 6, 2016

    Mr. Levin,

    I think that we would agree that the fundamental issue here is that there is really no justification for the Mississippi voter not to change the state flag. I have no right to enforce my moral or political code upon the citizen or Mississippi, but it is important enough that if I were a resident of the state it is something that I would want changed. They have plenty of legitimate options that they could replace it with.

    Nathan Towne

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