Delta State Faculty Votes to Remove State Flag

Delta State University

Delta State University

Tuesday evening, August 30, 2016, Delta State University became the last public University in the state of Mississippi to fly the state flag after Mississippi University for Women and Mississippi State University took down their flags.

President William LaForge, of Delta State University released this statement on Sept. 2:       

“On the one hand, I believe that Delta State—a public university supported by the State of Mississippi—owes a measure of respect to the state that embraces us. Flying the flag is the status quo.  On the other hand, there is great frustration with the absence of state governmental action to change the objectionable portion of the flag.  And, a good case can be made that the flag itself—whether reality or perception—stands in the way of progress and improved understanding about our state, our universities, and our people.”

LaForge, along with his cabinet, will be discussing matters in the oncoming weeks about the decision regarding whether to take down the flag. In an additional statement released by the school, the cabinet will hold a vote to decide the flag’s fate.

There was a glaring split on the issue amongst students and faculty. While some see the flag as a piece of history, others view it as a divisive symbol of hatred.

“[The flag] is a great thing, its history, why would you change history?” Delta State football punter, Cody Mills, contended.  “[The Flag] is not even the Confederate flag, it is the Confederate Battle flag. I just don’t think you should change history.”

However, in good faith with his fellow student body he also stated, “I think [supporters of taking down the flag] have the right to their own opinion. If they think that the flag needs to come down, it needs to come down.”

“My own personal opinion is that Delta State should take the flag down, but given the fact that Delta State has come out in support of changing the flag, I can respect the decision to have it remain flying as long as it is the state flag,” former Student Government Association President, Mikel Sykes, said.

The rift in ideology went further than just the students. “Personally, I think that the flag should come down,” Delta State history teacher, Michelle Johansen, said. “I think that it is a divisive flag. I think that the Mississippi Legislature has missed an opportunity to change the flag and Delta State is missing an opportunity to voice an opinion about the divisiveness of the flag.”

Johansen mentioned the 2001 Mississippi Referendum to change the design of the State Flag in which failed by 65% to 35%.

Since then, the Dylann Roof murders of South Carolina have sparked up the flag debate again. In addition to the numerous problems caused by the flag, Delta State was restricted from hosting NCAA championship events until the flag was taken down.

There is also a Facebook page titled “Take Down the Flag DSU” that has garnered support from many of Delta State’s students and faculty. It has served as public forum for all to voice their opinions on the matter.

An unofficial update posted on the page Sept. 9, announced, “Faculty Senate vote: 18-1-1. Only one faculty senator voted against the motion. One abstained from voting. Proud of the Faculty Senate!”

If this post is factual, then the days of Delta State flying the Miss. State flag may be coming to an end.