JACKSON — The Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees removed the proposal to relocate the Confederate monument from the Circle to the Confederate cemetery on campus from their monthly meeting agenda Thursday morning.
IHL Trustee Tom Duff made the motion. Duff said he wants more information from the university, though detailed plans and justifications for the proposal have already been provided to the board. In a statement released after the meeting, Chancellor Glenn Boyce explained that the report Duff requested is on the progress made toward implementing the recommendations of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on History and Contextualization, which included recommendations involving the cemetery.
The university will have to submit this report to the board before Boyce can resubmit the relocation proposal.
“We are committed to working with the board to accomplish our goal of relocating the monument. We appreciate all of the work that our campus constituents and others have put forward on this important issue for our university,” Boyce said.
Debate about Confederate symbols on the UM campus has occurred since the 1970s, but the current movement on campus to relocate the monument began in 2018 when Students Against Social Injustice began pushing the university to remove the statue. In January of last year, six student leaders met in secret for weeks to draft a resolution to the Associated Student Body Senate that called instead for relocation.
After the meeting, Boyce said that the university “will continue to work through this process and continue to provide whatever information is requested of us.”
The 30-foot monument was erected in 1906 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Located prominently in the Circle, it serves as the most visible piece of Confederate iconography on campus.
“The entire process has been postponed for several decades, and so I think one more delay is not radically outside of what they’ve done in the past,” said Jarvis Benson, UM graduate and one of the six students who introduced the ASB resolution to relocate the monument.
“I don’t think they’re owed any more information from the university or any of the other stakeholders in this process,” he said. “Right now, they realize it’s all in their hands, and the best decision for them is no decision.”
The issue even gained national media attention in late February when Neo-Confederate activists marched from the Square to campus to protest the removal of Confederate symbols from the area. In March, all four campus government organizations passed resolutions calling for relocation.
As the monument is considered a historic landmark, state law required the university to submit a plan for relocation to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, which was approved in December.
Though the relocation plan has been approved under state law, by all campus governing bodies and is supported by a majority of campus constituents, the IHL board could still overrule them all.
ASB President Barron Mayfield called this move by the college board “woeful inaction.”
“This fight is not over. I plan to work with other student leaders and administrators to ensure that the proposal is quickly added back onto the IHL’s next meeting agenda,” Mayfield said. “I trust that the board members will set aside personal politics and do what is right for all members of the UM community, so the University and Mississippi can begin to take strides into a better and brighter future.”
This story will be updated as new information is confirmed.