OXFORD • The Mississippi Department of Archives and History will determine whether to move forward with plans to relocate the Confederate statue on the University of Mississippi campus.
The university released official plans for the proposed move from the Lyceum Circle to the Confederate cemetery on campus on Aug. 28 – one day after submitting them to MDAH for consideration.
The months-long process was spearheaded by the UM Associated Student Body, which unanimously passed a resolution recommending that university administrators relocate the monument on March 5.
Other campus government organizations passed similar resolutions in the following weeks and then-interim Chancellor Larry Sparks announced on March 21 that he agreed the monument should be relocated.
“Our campus constituents are in alignment, and we agree that the monument should be relocated to a more suitable location,” Sparks wrote in a statement.
A 2004 state law says that war monuments can’t be removed or altered, but can be moved to a “more suitable location.” That legal protection also applies to Confederate monuments.
UM’s 29-foot Confederate monument has stood in the Circle since 1906 when it was commissioned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
If the MDAH Board of Trustees votes to allow the statue to be moved, it will still require final approval from the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.
Betsey Hamilton, a resident of New Albany, serves on the board of trustees for the MDAH. She told the Daily Journal she is still studying the issue, but she plans to treat the proposal just as she would any other item that comes before the board.
“I’m not going to comment right now until I get in the board meeting and see what the ideas are, both pro and con,” Hamilton said.
MDAH received the plans for review in August and will discuss the university’s notice of intent at a Board of Trustees meeting at 10 a.m. Friday.
If approved, the earliest the matter could be discussed by IHL at its next meeting is Dec. 17.
Taylor Vance contributed to this report.