/Delta State University lowers state flag to fly bicentennial banner

Delta State University lowers state flag to fly bicentennial banner

On Thursday evening, Delta State University joined other state public colleges to lower the Mississippi flag. DSU will replace Mississippi’s state flag with a banner that was created by the Mississippi Economic Council in commemoration of the state’s bicentennial. The president of Delta State University, William N. LaForge made the announcement via a news release. He also stated that the flag would be returned to the university archives. “I want to make it clear that the university is making an institution decision on this matter because the state government declined to change flag. “This is a difficult decision in many ways because this is an emotionally charged issue for many people,” LaForge stated in the release. The University is in an untenable situation, and must make a decision that will disappoint others regardless of the outcome. In the absence of any state action, however, we have made a decision that I believe to be right and just at all levels.” Kayla, a Delta State junior African American studying childhood development, expressed her delight that the school had decided not to fly the flag. It’s a symbol for hate and oppression. It’s a relief that we don’t need to remember what our people went through, she said to Mississippi Today. Confederate symbols were brought back to the forefront after a mass shooting that took place in South Carolina in June 2015. Nine black churchgoers were killed by a white man. The Mississippi flag bears the Confederate battle emblem at the upper left corner. This has led to criticism. Last fall, the University of Mississippi and University of Southern Mississippi removed the flag. This was followed by Mississippi State University, Mississippi University for Women and Mississippi University for Women. As have many municipalities, several public historically black colleges in the state have declined to display the flag. In the fall 2015, the Delta State Faculty Senate began to discuss the flag issue. Last school year, the Faculty Senate sponsored a survey on flags that was sent out to campus professors. The Student Government Association sent its president and seven student leaders from other states to Jackson in the spring 2016 to discuss the flag with Philip Gunn, House Speaker. Many bills that would have changed the state flag were defeated despite Gunn’s desire for a new flag. Marc Allen, the public affairs officer of the Mississippi Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans said, “I think the person responsible’s action is inappropriate and it’s an violation of state law.” He was referring to his interpretation of state legislation that requires schools to fly the state state flag. It’s a public university that is owned and funded entirely by the citizens of Mississippi. The person in charge swears to uphold the law. The law is more important than the personal feelings of those in charge of public universities. It’s just wrong.” LaForge stated that Delta State, a public institution of higher education, continues to respect and honor its relationship with those who support the university. This will not change simply because we chose to join our seven sisters universities in solidarity in lowering an antiquated symbol that many find offensive and that public universities aren’t required to fly.” LaForge stated that the “objectionable portion” of the flag — the stars, bars, and the stars — is a polarizing symbol that hinders progress and improves understanding of our state, university, and people. “We believe that the continued flying of the state flag, with its divisive symbol, that sends a confusing signal, at best, that has increasingly become distracting to our mission, is contrary to our core beliefs and to an accurate understanding about who we are as a university and what we stand up for, Mikel Sykes, a Winona native, acknowledged the complexity of this issue. He has been involved in the removal of the flag from campus with students, faculty, and administrators. However, he also understands the perspective of the other side. He convened multiple meetings with students on both sides of this issue but could not reach a consensus. Sykes stated Thursday evening that he was proud of the Delta State’s decision to lower its state flag. “I believe that this is a step forward for campus as a whole.” Make a regular donation today to support this work. Our reporters give a human face to policy’s impact on everyday Mississippians by listening more closely and understanding their communities. To ensure that our work is aligned with the priorities and needs of Mississippians, we are listening to you. Click the button below to let us know what you think. Republish this Story You can freely republish our articles online or in print under a Creative Commons licence. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. R.L. Mississippi Today, Nave
November 3, 2016, Ryan L. Nave was born in University City, Mo. and served as Mississippi Today’s editor,-in-chief, from May 2018 to April 2020. Ryan started his career at Mississippi Today in February 2016, as an original member on the editorial team. He was appointed news editor in August 2016. Ryan holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from University of Missouri-Columbia. He has previously worked as a news editor at the Jackson Free Press and for Illinois Times. As editor-in-chief of Mississippi Today, Adam Ganucheau oversees the newsroom. He also works closely with the editorial staff to achieve our mission to produce high-quality journalism that is in the public interest. Since February 2016, Adam Ganucheau has been covering politics and state government at Mississippi Today. A native of Hazlehurst, Adam has worked as a staff reporter for AL.com, The Birmingham News and The Clarion-Ledger and his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Adam received his bachelor’s degree in journalism from The University of Mississippi. To the Mississippi Legislature, I say: Change your State flag. Change the red, blue, and white colors of this nation to reds, blacks, and greens from Africa. The Confederate Battle Flag should be a yellow sickle and hammer on a dark-red field. This symbolises progress and change-White subservience under savage, nigger rulers. White men used to be racist, and denied niggers their right to rape and rob them. They now not only permit it, but even encourage it. This is progress and it’s a sign of change. Their tax dollars finance nigger crime, breeding, and deny them their very existence-progress. That’s Mississippi and the United Soviet States, AmeriKa.