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Sparks Reiterates Intent to Relocate Confederate Statue

By Talbert Toole
Lifestyles Editor
talbert.toole@hottytoddy.com

Interim Chancellor Larry Sparks released a statement Wednesday to the university community regarding the relocation of the Confederate statue which currently resides in the heart of the Ole Miss campus.

His initial statement gave the community a clear indication the statue would be moving.  

“As we begin the academic year, it is important for you to know about the progress that has been made to relocate the Confederate monument to the cemetery on campus, which is a more suitable location,” Sparks stated.

According to Sparks, here are the steps the university has completed for its relocation:

  1. Submit a letter of intent to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) – Completed March 20, 2019
  2. Review meeting with MDAH – Completed April 2, 2019
  3. Contract with a firm to develop necessary plans – Completed June 3, 2019
  4. Develop the relocation and placement plans and drawings, and conduct site work to the required administrative, architectural, and engineering specifications – Completed August 27, 2019
  5. Submit relocation and reinstallation plans to MDAH for consideration – Completed August 27, 2019

You can review the drawings and specifications for the proposed plan.

  • Remaining steps – consideration and decision by MDAH; if approved by MDAH, submission of the agenda item to Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) that includes MDAH approval; hire a contractor to perform the work.

Sparks’ statement comes on the heels of many questions from those in the university community about why the statue had not yet been relocated by the start of the fall semester. 

When students arrived back to campus Monday, it had been 172 days since the Associated Student Body voted unanimously on March 5 to relocate the Confederate statue at the edge of the Circle to the Confederate cemetery on campus. The ASB was one of four governing bodies to unanimously vote on the statue’s relocation. The Graduate Student Council, Faculty Senate and Staff Council were the other three in agreement with the ASB’s decision to relocate the statue.

Photo courtesy of Students Against Social Injustice.

 

 

In Wednesday’s statement, Sparks said, “I am pleased that the plan and necessary drawings are complete, and I appreciate all of the work to develop the required documentation for submission.”

Sparks said as the university continues this “important change,” administration officials will also continue to abide by “the state rules and laws and IHL policies that govern all construction projects on our campus.”

Students Against Social Injustice, or commonly known as SASI, led last year’s first opposition against the statue. SASI is the local chapter of the national student-led organization United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS).

On Nov. 28, 2018, SASI and faculty members marched from Lamar Hall to the statue followed by a protest on the steps of the Lyceum.

Protest organizer and SASI secretary Em Gill led by standing on the embankment outside Lamar Hall to educate the crowd of the demands SASI wants UM administration to make:

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

Concluding his statement to the Ole Miss community, Sparks noted that the university is following the steps that are necessary for a successful relocation; he also stated that the university will continue to maintain steady and committed progress to complete the relocation.

“I reiterate that this will place the monument in a more suitable location, one that is commensurate with the purpose that is etched on its side,” he said. 


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