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Chancellor Boyce: “We are committed to working with” IHL Board regarding statue relocation

The Institution of Higher Learning’s February Board of Trustees meeting will take place on Thursday without an agenda item regarding the University of Mississippi’s Confederate statue.

In a letter sent out to Ole Miss students, faculty and staff, Chancellor Glenn Boyce stated the University is still working to compile a progress report, which was requested by the IHL Board before a vote on the monument’s relocation could be made.

“Since I last wrote you on Jan. 16, 2020, we have been working diligently on the progress report requested by the IHL Board regarding the recommendations of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on History and Contextualization (CACHC), which included recommendations specific to the cemetery next to the Tad Smith Coliseum,” Boyce’s letter read. “Once complete, we will provide the board with this report, which is required before we can re-submit our relocation proposal for future consideration. We’re committed to (working) with the board to accomplish our goal of relocating the monument.”

During the IHL Board’s January 16 meeting, Board member Thomas Duff made a motion to pull the item off the agenda and table discussion pertaining to the monument’s relocation on Ole Miss’ campus.

On the same day, Senate Bill 2068 was proposed by Mississippi Senator Joseph Seymour to amend Section 55-15-81 of the Mississippi Code of 1972. The amendment’s intention is to “delete the authority of public governing entities to move historical monuments and memorials; and for related purposes.”

Earlier this month, Ole Miss announced a $26 million donation was made by Duff, and his brother Jim, toward the yet-to-be-built STEM Building. The Duff brothers are from Hattiesburg, and Thomas is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi.

The IHL Board’s March meeting is scheduled for March 19 at their Jackson office. It is not known if the report will be prepared in time for that meeting or not. If the proposal is approved by the IHL, the relocation of the statue from the Lyceum Circle to the Confederate cemetery is slated to take up to 90 consecutive days and cost $650,000.