Faculty senate to vote on Confederate statue relocation Thursday night

Posted on Mar 6 2019 - 7:32pm by Hadley Hitson and Daniel Payne

The Senate of the Faculty will vote on a resolution to relocate Ole Miss’s Confederate monument from the Circle to the Confederate cemetery at special meeting Thursday night, making it the third campus government organization to vote on the issue this week.

“That the statue and its placement provide an unwelcome reminder to many in our community of a difficult past based upon inequality, a past that permeates the present in ways that are inconsistent with the values espoused in the Creed, is undeniable,” faculty senate chair Brice Noonan said.

The Graduate Student Council Senate became the first group to pass a resolution calling for the statue’s relocation on Monday, and the Associated Student Body Senate unanimously passed a similar resolution the following day.

Following the faculty senate’s regular monthly meeting Tuesday night, the Senate Executive Committee decided to vote on the legislation this week. That committee also authored the resolution.

“Though many faculty feel strongly about this issue, as this was a student-led initiative, the faculty senate elected to allow the process to work its way through the ASB and GSC before releasing our own statement,” Noonan said.

Several faculty senators voiced concern at their Tuesday meeting that this resolution is a rushed call for a decision, but African American Studies Sen. Le’Trice Donaldson disagreed.

“This debate has occurred on this campus for years, even before I even came here,” Donaldson said.

A draft of the faculty senate’s resolution is very similar to those passed by the ASB and the GSC, and Noonan said it is largely based on the language of those resolutions. It omits the disavowal of white supremacy that was included in the GSC resolution but adds a longer quotation from a Mississippi law that explains that the “governing body” has the authority to move the monument.

John Chappell, one of the ASB Senate resolution’s authors and president of College Democrats, said it is his understanding that the groups who share governance of the university are the ASB, the GSC, the Senate of the Faculty and the Staff Council.

Even though campus government groups have passed resolutions calling for the statue to be relocated, it is unclear if these groups are the governing body mentioned in the law.

After the faculty senate’s vote tomorrow, the Staff Council will be the only campus government organization that has not taken a stance on the issue. The Staff Council functions similarly to the Senate of the Faculty and advises university administration on issues related to the institution and its staff. Any permanent, full-time staff who have been employed by Ole Miss for at least one year are eligible to join the Staff Council.

Noonan said the Staff Council is likely to meet within the next week to discuss the statue’s relocation.


Grace Marion contributed reporting to this article.