The University Police Department discovered “some rope and a pre-2003 Georgia state flag” on the James Meredith statue between the Lyceum and the J.D. Williams Library Sunday around 7 a.m., according to UPD Police Chief Calvin Sellers. Before it was changed in 2003, the Georgia state flag showed the Confederate “stars and bars” on its face.
“The rope was tied around the statue’s neck like a noose and the Confederate flag was draped around the shoulders and back of the statue like a scarf,” said Mark McMillan, owner of an insulation company contracted out by the university to work on the library’s cooling tower.
McMillan was the first person to discover the vandalized statue. He parked his truck near the statue around 6:45 a.m. Sunday and left the immediate area for ten minutes to prepare for his work day near the loading dock of the library.
“I came up on a couple younger-looking boys by the loading dock that were yelling ‘white power’ and ‘f— n—–s’ on my way back over towards the statue,” he said. “When I rounded the corner of (the George Street House), I noticed the rope and the flag, and it definitely showed the Confederate flag.”
Sellers confirmed that two male subjects were in the area and said the investigation is ongoing. The department is checking video camera footage around the area and has not confirmed any suspects in the incident.
Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones released a statement about Sunday’s vandalism.
“These individuals chose our university’s most visible symbol of unity and educational accessibility to express their disagreement with our values,” he said. “Their ideas have no place here, and our response will be an even greater commitment to promoting the values that are engraved on the statue – Courage, Knowledge, Opportunity, and Perseverance.”
In addition to the ongoing UPD investigation, the Ole Miss Alumni Association has offered a $25,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of the two individuals involved in the incident.