Voices of students imporant

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, August 31, 2016

With the start of a new school year comes the revival of an issue that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. It was reported this week that the state flag has been removed from the campuses of Mississippi State University and the Mississippi University for Women, leaving Delta State as the only remaining public university in the state still flying it.

Think about that.

While the issue of whether to change Mississippi’s flag won’t be decided on these campuses, it is a powerful statement that almost every institution of higher learning in Mississippi has removed the flag to promote an environment of inclusion and create distance from Confederate symbolism.

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Lawmakers and other opponents of removing the flag can try to ignore it or minimize its importance as nothing more than the actions of “emotional college students.”

But pretending what’s happening on these campuses isn’t significant is not only an inaccurate assessment, but a dumb move given how often Mississippi college students are urged to remain in the state after graduation rather than fleeing it for better opportunities.

If you value students enough to want to keep them — acknowledging their education and abilities could improve the state in several areas — why devalue the importance of their voice on issues like this? Doing so is a discouraging force that does nothing to convince the state’s best and brightest to stay in Mississippi when their views on how the state and its universities should be represented are ignored.