After continued criticism of the Confederate monument’s placement on the University of Mississippi campus, the university installed “a temporary screen” on the side of the monument facing Manning Way and Hill Drive earlier this week. The decision stemmed from conversations between Chancellor Glenn Boyce and an unnamed group of student-athletes who did not want to see the monument from the football practice fields.
“In response, the university is installing a temporary screen around the monument until permanent, limited landscaping can be planted later this fall, the optimal time of year for the plantings to take root,” university spokesman Rod Guajardo said.
Earlier this summer, student-athletes spoke up in support of monument relocation and the removal of Confederate iconography from the state flag in an unprecedented manner. After the state Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) Board of Trustees approved the relocation of the monument from the Circle to the Confederate cemetery in June, football players tweeted a video showing their support of the decision.
“This allows all students, faculty, staff and fans of the University of Mississippi to enjoy our beautiful campus without having to see a symbol of slavery, racism, hate and oppression,” Tariquious Tisdale, a senior defensive end, said in the video.
Associated Student Body President Joshua Mannery said he had spoken to many football players who initially were not aware that the practice fields had such a clear view of the Confederate cemetery.
“They don’t want (to see the monument),” Mannery said. “Student-athletes are taking a much more active role in decision making on campus, and they made it very clear that they weren’t going to sit this one out.”
Mannery also said that while he was not involved in the advocacy for or the decision to install the screen, he is glad that the university is “actively working to obstruct the view of the monument.”
The newly installed screen also hinders the view of the monument from Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, where a limited number of fans will be able to attend games for the 2020 fall season pending further COVID-19 restrictions.