OXFORD, MS (WLBT) - The University of Mississippi police chief has asked faculty, staff and students to avoid areas of campus where supporters and opponents of Confederate symbols are expected to march Saturday.
According to a statement released by Chief Ray Hawkins, “As the university communicated in a statement issued February 13, we expect external groups that have no association with the university to hold marches at or near University Circle on Friday, February 22, and Saturday, February 23. Our highest priority is to maintain a safe campus environment, and the University Police Department has worked with local and state law enforcement agencies in preparation for these events. There will be an elevated law-enforcement presence on the march route (on- and off-campus) to assist in keeping our campus and community safe."
Chief Hawkins said that guns are strictly prohibited on the university campus except as outlined in the Campus Weapons Policy, which requires an “enhanced” concealed carry permit and restricts possession to specific public areas of the campus.
All other weapons are strictly prohibited on campus. Several pro-Confederate groups plan to hold a rally and march in support of Confederate symbols on Saturday.
Confederate 901 and The Hiwaymen plan to meet on the Square in Oxford Saturday at 1:00 p.m. and march to the Confederate monument near The Grove at Ole Miss at 2:00 p.m.
While the chief hopes, and strongly recommends, that people completely avoid the area of the events, he provided the following details to remember: These events are not UM-sponsored or -sanctioned events, all laws and policies that govern the university and its campus remain in effect, and no one should interfere with the ability of others to exercise freedom of speech or freedom of movement.