In a nearly unanimous decision, the University of Mississippi Faculty Senate voted to remove the state’s flag from campus, according to WMC-TV.
The 41-1 vote late Thursday supports an earlier decision by the Student Body Senate also to take down the state flag, whose design includes the controversial Confederate battle flag.
In the more contentious student body vote last Tuesday, student senators passed the resolution by a 33-15 vote, the Clarion-Ledger reports.
“I’m just really glad the faculty senate is standing behind us,” said student Sen. Allen Coon, who co-authored the resolution. “It’s nice to know as a community we can move forward. We can push our university to take steps toward progress and make our academic environment a much safer place.”
This comes on the heels of an NAACP student protest against the state flag. The Clarion-Ledger reports that more than 200 people attended the on campus rally Oct. 16.
The peaceful protest turned confrontational when a local Ku Klux Klan affiliate and the League of the South staged a counter rally. Intense verbal exchanges occurred between the sides.
Despite the two votes, the battle over the Confederate emblem on the campus is not over. The student and faculty decisions are only recommendations, WMC-TV notes. A final ruling on whether the flag is removed must come from the university’s administration and chancellor.
Meanwhile, scores of student flag supporters are standing firm. Student Sen. Andrew Soper initiated an online petition to keep the flag on campus. He also gathered about 1,200 signatures on a paper petition circulating on the campus.
Soper insists that this is a state issue because the university receives state funding. He highlights that voters across Mississippi supported keeping the Confederate emblem on the state flag in a referendum more than a decade ago, according to the Clarion-Ledger.