Ole Miss Confederate statue: What’s next?

Updated: Mar. 6, 2019 at 7:20 PM CST
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JACKSON, MS (WLBT) -The Confederate statue at the Circle on the Ole Miss campus will get moved to the Confederate cemetery if the student government gets its way. But how legally binding is Tuesdays’ Associated Student Body Senate vote?

Here’s Mississippi College School of Law professor Matt Steffey’s take.

“This is the most forceful way they can respond," explained Steffey. "But if they had the authority to move the monument, it would be moved by now.”

The state law being cited by the ASB reads: “The governing body may move the memorial to a more suitable location if it is determined that the location is more appropriate to displaying the monument.” But the question is whether the ASB can be considered the “governing body”.

“It’s a stretch by any criteria to call student government part of the university shared governance model unless we want to say that part is both largely symbolic and quite small comparatively speaking,” added Steffey.

We checked in with the ASB President. Here’s the next steps he described.

After I signed the Resolution last night as ASB President, the legislation then goes to the Dean of Students who acknowledges that they have seen it and then the vice chancellor of student affairs who also just signs to acknowledge that they have seen it. Following their signatures, it goes to the Chancellor who also just signs to acknowledge that they have seen the resolution.

Elam Miller, Ole Miss ASB President

But then what? Here are the steps the Institutions of Higher Learning explained.

In accordance with Mississippi Code Sections 37-101-15 and 55-15-81, the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning is the governing authority for all public universities in Mississippi, including the University of Mississippi. In a shared governance model utilized on most university campuses, the student body, represented by the Associated Student Body at the University of Mississippi, has a voice on issues impacting the campus, along with other members of the campus community, including faculty and staff. The institutional executive officer makes the determination on whether to submit an item for approval by the Board of Trustees. In accordance with Mississippi Code Section 39-7-22, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History must be consulted prior to public construction or improvement affecting potential Mississippi landmarks.

Meanwhile, lawmakers are already reacting to the ASB vote.

“Some of these confederate monuments may not be politically correct but they’re still part of our history,” said Rep. Gary Chism (R).

“It shows the university is making the right steps to make change for our state,” noted Rep. Chris Bell (D).

According the information from the IHL, it appears there’s still more hurdles to be cleared before the statue can be relocated.

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