A lengthy student-body Senate meeting at the University of Mississippi Tuesday night resulted in a resolution to remove the state flag, which features the Confederate battle flag, from school grounds, the Clarion-Ledger reports. The measure was passed 33-15 and was penned by ASB Sen. Allen Coon in conjunction with several student groups, including the school's NAACP chapter. An amendment was also included to "encourage the Mississippi legislature to hasten their pursuit of a new state flag." "We are forever tied to the horrors of our past," Coon told CNN earlier this week. "We've flown this symbol of oppression. We've defended it. ... [It's] time to recognize that that was a mistake." The resolution now goes to the ASB president, who has said previously he'd approve it if the Senate did. The ultimate decision of whether the flag keeps flying is up to the school's chancellor, who's said before he'd like a new state flag. Three other public colleges in the state don't fly it, per CNN.
The vote follows a contentious rally held Friday, with more than 200 students gathered by the NAACP student chapter protesting the flag confronted by a counter-rally by nonstudents from a KKK-affiliated group and a Southern nationalist organization, the Clarion-Ledger reports. University police had to be called and ended up escorting members from the two nonstudent groups off campus grounds. At least one ASB senator believes the flag should stay for now because the college receives state funds, and the flag is still A-OK per the state of Mississippi. "There should not be a debate," Andrew Soper tells the paper. "This a state issue, not a university issue." The VP of the ASB Senate, however, lauded the group during Tuesday's meeting, saying students were "pushing social issues" and "truly … taking steps toward progress." "For once, the ASB Senate is actually doing something more than congratulating the football team and looking for crosswalks to put on campus," he noted.