Boyce: Change means ‘moving the monument away from the center of our campus’

Published 5:20 pm Sunday, May 31, 2020

On the heels of Saturday’s vandalism of the confederate monument on the University of Mississippi campus, Chancellor Glenn Boyce released a statement with his thoughts on recent events.

Boyce opened the statement by expressing sympathy for those affected by the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, and acknowledging that the effects of those events “continue to tear apart the fabric of our country and impact our campus.”

“I am struck with profound sadness for the recurring cycle of tragic and senseless deaths, for the African-American and other minority members of our university community who are fearful, anxious and frustrated by the lack of real and sustained change…,” Boyce said in the statement. “We all recognize that this University has a difficult history with these issues that oftentimes places us at the forefront of complex and emotional discussions.”

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Boyce went on to say that the University will not let its past prevent the cultivation of a “better present and future” on campus.

Boyce then called for the relocation of the now-defaced confederate monument.

“This is a time for change,” Boyce said. “For me, that means moving the monument away from the center of our campus, and the process of its removal is one I am committed to seeing through to completion. There is more to do, but this needs to happen.”

There is more to do indeed, as the fate of the statue is currently in the hands of the state Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees.

In August 2019, the University submitted a plan to relocate the statue to the confederate cemetery on campus, located behind the C.M. ‘Tad’ Smith Coliseum. The Mississippi Department of Archives and History approved this plan in December 2019.

The final step before the University can begin the 90-day relocation process is approval by the IHL Board of Trustees.

Board member Tom Duff made the motion to table discussion of the statue relocation during the IHL’s January 2020 meeting, citing the need for more information and “time to look over the report.”

The IHL Board has “exclusive authority” to relocate the statue, according to Boyce, and the report to the Board is required before the University can re-submit the relocation proposal to the IHL for their approval.

Since the matter was tabled in January, the IHL Board has met three times. The statue relocation plan was not on the agenda for any of the meetings.