OXFORD - A former University of Mississippi student will be arraigned today on charges of vandalizing a Confederate monument on campus.
According to a university spokesman, Zachary Borenstein was arrested Saturday evening and charged with injuring, destroying or defacing cemetery property, public buildings, schools or churches, or property thereof, which is classified as a felony.
Borenstein, a recent graduate with a master's degree, will be arraigned by a Lafayette County Justice Court judge where bond will be set.
The words “spiritual genocide” were spray-painted in black on every side of the statue, accompanied by blood red handprints. University police officers arrested Borenstein at the scene.
The vandalism occurred as demonstrators across the country protested the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on his neck.
The state College Board has delayed acting on a recommendation by university administrators, student leaders and faculty leaders to move the statue from the Circle on campus Civil War cemetery that is still on campus but in a secluded location.
"That monument has divided this campus, and the process of its removal from the Circle is one I am committed to seeing through to completion," said Chancellor Glenn F. Boyce in a statement Sunday. "There is more to do, but this needs to happen."