HATTIESBURG, MS (WLOX) - For the better part of two years, a group known as USM Flaggers have gone to the school's Hattiesburg campus every Sunday in protest of the university's decision to remove the state flag.
But at the latest protest, they had some company.
Members of the Mississippi Rising Coalition joined USM students in a joint effort to show support for the school's decision and to push for a new state flag.
They posted opposite the flaggers on USM's campus for several hours, both sides remaining calm in their protests. USM Junior Kendall Junker believes it's time for the flaggers to end their protest.
"The Confederate flag that they've been flying for 95 weeks out here is an inherently racist flag," said Junker. "With the issues that have happened in Charlottesville last week, we felt that it's been 95 weeks too long. "
But flag supporters like Gulfport resident DeBorah Simpson say their reason for protesting is simple.
"This is the Mississippi state flag. Just like all other cities fly their state flags in their states, we should do the same," said Simpson.
While there have been counter protests in the past, the most recent one was the largest. For students like Junker, it may only be the beginning.
"I'll come out here every single week until they're gone because we don't need to be flying a racist flag on campus," said Junker. "We already took it down. It went into the museum, and that's where it belongs."