From THE CLARION LEDGER
by Sarah Fowler
In a unanimous vote, the Associated Student Body at the University of Mississippi started the process to remove the Confederate statue on campus Tuesday night.
Student Katie Dames, chairman of the Committee of Inclusion and Cross-Cultural Engagement for ASB Senate, said the purpose of the resolution “is not to hide history.”
“The Confederate statue represents history hidden in plain sight — we accept the values of Confederacy each time we walk past it with ambivalence,” she said via email after Tuesday night’s vote. “We can do so much better as a university, and the passage of this resolution proves that.”
The vote comes after last Thursday’s resolution to move the statue, which was donated by the Daughters of the Confederacy in 1906, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. In the resolution, the ASB said, “Confederate ideology directly violates the tenets of the university creed that supports fairness, civility, and respect for the dignity of each person.”
Dames said she hoped the resolution could “encourage conversation” and “further racial reconciliation.”
Junior Arielle Hudson, vice president of the University of Mississippi Black Student Union, said the vote to relocate the statue sends a message that “the student body cares about every student on this campus, that we respect every student on this campus and that we want every student on this campus to feel safe and welcomed.”
Hudson said she’s “an African American student at a predominantly white institution that was built on the backs of my ancestors.”
She walks past the statue everyday.
“Through my different roles on campus, I interact with the black student body on this campus and prospective African American students who wish to go here,” she said. “I have to explain to these prospective students and their families why that statue sits on our campus, and in return, they have to beg their parents to let them attend here.
“We shouldn’t have to keep explaining to our parents why we want to go here. Better yet, beg them to go here. I’m tired of having those conversations. We should feel just as welcomed to this university and just as safe on this campus as any white student.”
While the students voted to relocate the statue, the chancellor has to sign off on the move.
Last month, approximately 100 people, members or supporters of Confederate 901 and the Hiwaymen, gathered at The Square in Oxford to celebrate the Confederacy. They marched from the Confederate statue on The Square to the Confederate statue on the Ole Miss campus.
In response, they were met by approximately 50 counter-protesters.
The resolution to move the statue on campus was in the works before the march.
“Things move slowly here, but that doesn’t mean that attitudes and actions aren’t moving in the right direction,” Dames said. “The more that we open up a dialogue about campus climate and listen instead of yell at one another, the easier we can reconcile the pains of the past and appreciate what we have done and continue to do right.”