Coast colleges take down the state flag

Coast colleges take down the state flag
Some students say they are glad to see the flag gone. (Photo source: WLOX News)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - First Ole Miss, and now the University of Southern Mississippi. The Mississippi state flag is disappearing from college campuses.

Students at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park campus have mixed views on the university's decision to remove the Mississippi state flag.

"I don't agree with them wanting to remove it. It's really a minority of people who feel like it's a symbol of hatred," said USM student Ross Grisham.

Another student disagreed.

"I dislike the fact the confederate flag is on the state flag I think it represents bad things and slavery and racism and I think we should work together to move forward and not be stuck 150 years ago," said USM student Jennifer Rhodes.

In a statement, University President Dr. Rodney Bennett said in part, "While I love the state of Mississippi, there is a passionate debate about the current state flag on our campuses and in our communities. I am looking forward to a time when this debate is resolved and USM raises a state flag that unites us."

Jamie Henton agrees with the school's president.

"Once its redesigned and everyone is comfortable, then they can put it back up," Henton said.

Other students say issues with the flag should be handled democratically.

"If people want to change the flag then we should vote on changing it not removing it from institutions in the state," said Christian Vlasic.

And while there are still a lot of tension on USM's campus about the decision, it's leaving people wondering if other institutions on the coast will follow suit. At Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College campuses the flag debate isn't as big of a deal.
"We're in our 28th year and I don't ever remember us flying our state flag, and there's no particular reason," said MGCCC President Dr. Mary Graham.

Students at MGCCC who don't see a problem with the flag say they are OK with recent decisions.

"How many times have our flags been change across the nation? It's just one of those things we have to come and understand as we grow as a state and as a nation," said MGCCC student Jenna Swift.

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