Mississippi State University and the Mississippi University for Women are the latest public universities in the Magnolia State that will not be flying the state flag on their campuses.
The Mississippi state flag is the only one in the U.S. that shows the Confederate battle emblem in its upper left-hand corner.
The Clarion Ledger reports that Mississippi University for Women President Jim Borsig says he made the decision after campus groups had “sustained discussions” about the flag last year. He also cites the 50th anniversary of the university’s integration as a factor.
MSU President Mark Keenum also “permitted the removal of the flag from four locations on the university’s Starkville campus this summer.” This is a quiet about-face from a stance Keenum took last November.
“The state flag of Mississippi is just that—it is the state flag of our state,” Keenum said at the time. “When I arrived at Mississippi State [in 2009], we had several [state] flags flying on campus that are still there today.” The flag will still be part of a display of 50 state and country flags in the school’s cafeteria.
Last fall, two other universities, Ole Miss and the University of Southern Mississippi, removed the state flag from their campuses. The Ole Miss athletic director also confirmed to the paper that the university’s marching band would no longer play “Dixie.”
Seven other public universities in Mississippi—MSU, MUW, Alcorn State University, Jackson State University, Mississippi Valley State University, Ole Miss and USM—do not fly the state flag on their campuses. Delta State University is the only public Mississippi university still flying the flag.
In terms of changing the flag itself, the Clarion-Ledger reports that in the 2016 legislative session, several bills to change the state flag did not make it out of House committee.
Gov. Phil Bryant often refers to a 2001 referendum in which the state’s voters elected to keep the current flag.
Read more at the Clarion-Ledger.