The University of Mississippi is moving forward with its plan to relocate the Confederate statue that currently stands in the Circle to the campus cemetery.
The plan to move the statue was first announced by interim Chancellor Larry Sparks back in March following a vote by the Associated Student Body. The student government organization argued that the statue “violates the tenets of the University Creed”.
In an email to Ole Miss students and faculty on Wednesday, Sparks gave a timeline of the project and explained that they are in the final stages of the process.
“As we begin the academic year, it is important for you to know about the progress that has been made to relocate the Confederate monument to the cemetery on campus, which is a more suitable location. The steps to relocate the monument are as follows.
- Submit a letter of intent to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) – Completed March 20, 2019
- Review meeting with MDAH – Completed April 2, 2019
- Contract with a firm to develop necessary plans – Completed June 3, 2019
- Develop the relocation and placement plans and drawings, and conduct site work to the required administrative, architectural, and engineering specifications – Completed August 27, 2019
- Submit relocation and reinstallation plans to MDAH for consideration – Completed August 27, 2019
- Remaining steps – consideration and decision by MDAH; if approved by MDAH, submission of agenda item to Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) that includes MDAH approval; hire a contractor to perform the work”
Speaking about the new location for the statue, Sparks said, “I reiterate that this will place the monument in a more suitable location, one that is commensurate with the purpose that is etched on its side.”
Before the talk of relocation began, the statue was one of seven sites on campus to receive a “contextualization” plaque explaining its historical relevance to the University.
At the time, then-Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter stated that he believed putting the statue in context was a better option as opposed to removing the statue that has been on campus since 1906.
“We left the Confederate statue, but we contextualized it, and I think that’s far preferable than removing it as some cities have done, which I think is wrong,” Vitter said in March 2017.