By Alyssa Schnugg
A discussion and possible vote on whether to relocate the Confederate statue was pulled from the agenda this morning by Institute of Higher Learning Trustee Thomas Duff.
Duff said he would like a full report from the University of Mississippi on the progress made in implementing all of the recommendations included in the contextualization report, including the university’s plans to replace markers in the cemetery.
“Given this is a very important matter, I’d like to receive a full report before we vote on such, thus, I will be pulling this matter from the agenda today,” Duff said during the monthly IHL board meeting at 9 a.m. Thursday morning.
One agenda item up from the discussion about the monument, the board voted to name the new STEM building currently under construction on the Ole Miss campus, the “Jim and Thomas Duff Center for Science and Technology Innovation.” The Duffs have committed to a $26 million donation to the school. Duff recused himself during the vote.
The monument was installed in 1906 to honor the 400-plus men from Lafayette County who died in the Civil War. It was envisioned by a UM Professor of Chemistry, R. W. Jones in 1892, and the funds were raised by a group of 45 women.
The statue was a rallying point in 1962 for people who rioted to oppose court-ordered integration of the university.
Pro-Confederate groups from outside the university rallied at the monument Feb. 23 after hearing rumors of a revived effort to move the statue. The Associated Student Body voted in March to relocate the Confederate statue to the Confederate cemetery on campus. The ASB was one of four governing bodies to unanimously vote on the statue’s relocation. The Graduate Student Council, Faculty Senate and Staff Council were the other three in agreement with the ASB’s decision to relocate the statue.
The university sought the opinion of the Mississippi Attorney GEneral’s Office as to whether the school could move the statue. The AG’s opinion stated the university did have the authority to move it if the new location was deemed “more appropriate.”
In August, then-interim Chancellor Larry Sparks announced the University’s intent to move the monument located in the Circle to the Confederate Cemetery.
Last month the Mississippi Department of Archives and History approved the university’s plans on how the statue will be moved and its new location. The MDAH board issued a resolution that should the IHL approve the request, the MDAH will issue a permit for the statue’s relocation.