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Rain-Soaked Protestors Lead “Students Over Statues” March

By Talbert Toole
Lifestyles Editor

Video by Talbert Toole

Roughly over 300 students, faculty, staff, LOU community members and allies congregated outside of the E.F. Yerby Conference Center Friday afternoon for the Students Over Statues March—a protest against the Confederate statue that resides at the edge of the Circle on the University of Mississippi’s campus.

The march, which was organized by Students Against Social Injustice (SASI), was originally slated to meet in the lobby of Lamar Hall, but the location changed Friday morning.

Prior to the march, several UM students like Em Gill, secretary of SASI, and Jaz Brisack, Ole Miss Rhodes Scholar, spoke to the crowd about how the university should be more inclusive to its students.

The group was met by an additional crowd, wearing bright green ponchos, who are attending SASI’s national convention on Saturday. The convention was moved to Memphis due to the organization failing to follow through with university guidelines, according to SASI president Quay Williams.

Despite the rain, the protestors marched from the conference center to the statue chanting “What do we want? Justice!” while being escorted by several University Police Department officers. Once the group reached the statue, protestors joined together to sing “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers.

Attendees of SASI’s national convention marched in solidarity with others to the Confederate statue Friday. Photo by Anna Grace Usery.

SASI previously hosted a similar protest march Nov. 28, 2018, in which the organization marched from Lamar Hall to the Circle; however, the group’s final destination was The Lyceum where it delivered a letter of demands to former chancellor Jeffrey Vitter. The demands are as follows:

1) “The University of Mississippi administration must remove the Confederate statue from campus
2) Administration must implement a publicized hate speech policy to protect students from the racist violence we experience on campus
3) Regardless of who is in the Chancellor’s position, administration will meet with us next semester to discuss these demands.”

SASI is the local chapter of the national student-led organization United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS). According to the group’s mission statement, they are committed to providing a safe, welcoming environment for marginalized persons on campus.

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