OUR VIEW: Can the statue be relocated now?

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The vandalism of the confederate monument on the University of Mississippi campus was a bleak affair – one that could have been prevented, had the Institutes of Higher Learning Board of Trustees made any effort to approve its relocation once and for all. 

Instead, the IHL Board has kicked the proverbial can down the road for four months, their thinly veiled excuse for not acting being that they need “more information” from Ole Miss before discussing the topic further. Newsflash: When every other organization/state entity has given their approval on a matter, a request for “more information” seems like a cop-out. 

The IHL Board is not comprised of elected officials. No one has a say in who serves on the board aside from the Governor and, regardless of whether you personally agree with his policies or not, it’s a fair bet to say the members of the Board do not represent or serve the interests of ALL Mississippians.  

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Board member Tom Duff originally made the motion to table the statue relocation discussion back in January 2020. In the same meeting, the IHL approved to rename the STEM building on the UM campus, which has yet to begin construction.  

The Board voted to name it the “Jim and Thomas Duff Center for Science and Technology Innovation.” The Duffs have committed a $26 million donation to the school. It doesn’t take a genius to realize the timing of Duff’s request to table the discussion and the timing of the donation are suspect, at best. 

Still, the IHL Board has held multiple meetings since January, during which the statue relocation was never a topic of discussion.  

While the EAGLE Editorial Board has published its fair share of criticism of UM Chancellor Glenn Boyce, we wholeheartedly agree with his weekend statement: “Change means moving the monument away from the center of campus.” Blame for the statue’s current placement cannot be laid on his shoulders. 

The monument, although not originally placed in the spirit of malice, has devolved into just that: a beacon of hatred.  

Relocating the statue won’t rid the Ole Miss campus of hate, but it will give its beacon a less prominent place to shine.  

There are channels in which the statue relocation can be handled in a peaceful manner, avoiding further destruction as has been seen in cities like Birmingham, Ala., where protesters in a mob mentality have attempted to tear down statues and circumvent processes in place for the redress of their grievances. 

The statue’s fate is in the hands of the IHL, and we implore them to make the right decision.