Group sues to remove plaque at Ole Miss Confederate statue

Print More
The Confederate monument at the Circle at the University of Mississippi, in Oxford.

Bruce Newman, Oxford Eagle

The Confederate monument at the Circle at the University of Mississippi, in Oxford.

The Mississippi Sons of Confederate Veterans this week revived a lawsuit against the University of Mississippi, asking that a court order removal of an informational plaque near a Confederate monument on campus.

The lawsuit, first filed in September 2014, was transferred from the county’s chancery court and placed on the circuit court’s docket. The case had lain dormant until this week.

The group’s petition for injunction – a request that a judge issue an order that compels a party to do or refrain from specific acts – does not directly state what remedy the group seeks. Court documents show the university’s counsel perceived the petition as a request to remove the plaque.

The petition, amended this summer to include language about the plaque, alludes to the idea that the plaque does not accurately portray the historic meaning of the monument. The university had originally placed a plaque, then removed it and revised the wording after receiving input from several groups. The revised plaque was installed this week.

“The SCV requests that this Honorable Court use its broad powers of equity to … grant an injunction against the University of Mississippi, enjoining and preventing the University of Mississippi from disturbing or otherwise altering, desecrating, attacking, removing or placing any kind or (sic) plaque or placard which may in any way change, alter or disturb the significance and meaning of the Confederate Monument,” the petition states.

The lead attorney for the organization became ill shortly after the lawsuit was filed in 2014, and the suit sat dormant. The case was dismissed in May after lack of action taken by the plaintiff, but a petition for reinstatement was granted on Aug. 1.

The amended complaint, filed this fall, also asks for the name of “Confederate Drive” to be protected. That road’s name was changed to “Chapel Lane” in 2014 by university officials.

The complaint quotes a state law that declares no “monuments, memorials or nameplates (plaques)” honoring numerous wars, including the “War Between the States,” may be “relocated, removed, disturbed, altered, renamed or rededicated.” The statute is Miss. Code Ann. § 55-15-81 (2016).

The plaque was developed as a result of the university’s 2014 diversity action plan in which Confederate symbols on campus would be contextualized with historic markers. The wording on the plaque was the center of controversy for weeks after an initial draft of the language did not include any mention of slavery or that the outcome of the war led to the abolition of slavery in the United States.

After student and faculty groups on campus, including the NAACP, protested, the plaque’s language was reworded to reflect a more accurate historic depiction.

The wording now reads:

Revised language on the plaque at the Confederate statue on the Circle at Ole Miss. The new plaque was installed this week.

Bruce Newman, Oxford Eagle

Revised language on the plaque at the Confederate statue on the Circle at Ole Miss. The new plaque was installed this week.

 

The university asked the judge to dismiss the case in May. Judge Robert Whitwell denied that request, instead moving the case to circuit court.

The university’s counsel, including Oxford attorney Cal Mayo, is preparing a response to the amended petition. Attorneys for the Sons of Confederate Veterans did not return messages Friday.

  • wow_jackson

    It’s nice to see a group of patriots not bowing down to the PC police that think they have all the liberal power on campus. The people who are -for changing the plaques on the statues are not from Mississippi, only their paychecks originate in the state of Mississippi, however they do not recognize the state flag because the company line continues to be “We have recruits that come on campus, and the first thing the recruits and their families ask if if we play “Dixie.” Really? Shouldn’t the the first things out of the parents / SUDENT-ATHELETES Should be, what type of education that I can get at this school / how much playing time should I / my kid? But no, the administration, specifically Ross Bjork, and Twitter Vitter seem to want to ignore and want to push the company line is that we are the only NCAA school that still play’s Dixie. Really? Wow, guess what, its is a tradition. As for as the student council on campus, it seems as though it too is lead by liberal students who, the majority, are not even invested in this state, but are from the LEFT cost and bringing their ideals in to hurt, yes hurt this fine institution. It is time to look at Starkville, even if it is our arch-rivals, NCAA / SEC said that they could no longer ring cowbells anymore and they simply stuck up their middle finger to the collective leaders of the league and stood a stance on the cowbells, and no matter how much they are God’s worse noise that they put on earth, this institution stood up for what was right, and they continue to ring their bells at their homegames. Ole Miss, However produces many lawyers each year, and yet they sit on their butts with super glue attached to them, simply because they do not have the backbone, or any stones between their legs in which they can stand up and fight this legally. The reason why? Simple. Since the AD Ross Bjork has continued to carry the narrative that this is hurting recruiting without providing any facts whatsoever, its just a simple fear tactic. This is a ploy in order to get all the boosters to back off in the off chance it might hurt recruiting according to our AD. However our AD must take a look at himself. Isn’t he the one that got our ladies basketball team in trouble? Yes I do believe so, He hired her, he had no control over her (so to speak, he “apparently lost all control over the Lady Rebel Basketball team, however money had to come from somewhere, but I’m sure Bjork did not know anything a happening in his organization? What about these accusations about the football team? Lets look, He had no clue about all these extra cars floating around the campus.. Which is kinda hard for someone to believe when I can see a High Profile Athlete Rolling around campus in several cars, but again, the Athletics Department simply did not know anything about it.. I do not buy it, do you? So go ahead Rebels, let Ross Bjork and Twitter Vitter take away traditions that have been in place, long before they got there… Let them let ESPN / SEC networks pull their stings, however they will not pull the majority of the fans. I see an uproar here. Liberal targeting against the Mississippi State flag, because it is too big for the stadium requirements, which were changed once the flags showed up on campus, because they were obstructing other fans views? I think those foam fingers are much larger and if they continue to push those talking points then they should quit selling the fingers in the stadium and follow suit on what interferes with people seeing the game. Otherwise, we can put the state flag on the fingers and should they attempt an arrest, then, it will completely show that they are targeting selective liberal targeting, which would not hold up in any court. So, I ask everyone to buy a finger, attach your Mississippi State Flag to it, and then let Bjork attempt to try to get you arrested. I doubt he would want to fight this fight. As far as our next game, I hope to see a lot of fingers in the crowd with State Flags attached to them. If this causes for the administration to pull back their #1 fingers and not sell them at the next game, that would make me sad… I sure would hate to see Ross loose yet more money trying to defeat his cause. I’ve been studying AD Ross Bjork for some time now, however it appears, his agenda is to act like the South is really not here, but rather in California, or somewhere in the north. and would like to run the school as if were so, and to use this a to show something that he could use as something that he championed, since he as AD has not been able to do anything but hire a track and field and women’s basketball coach and then had to fire them for not running a clean ship, for something that he “didn’t know anything about.” Really? If this is the case, they he has already lost all institutional control. Ross had nothing to do with the Vaught expansion, nor the new basketball areana, as this has been something in the books for years, he just happened to hold the AD office when it happened. So, what has he done for Ole Miss? Nothing. He didn’t hire Freeze.. Archie made that call, if the football team goes down with the NCAA investigation, as should AD Ross Bjork, for totally losing all institutional control. End of Story. It’s time that we take back our University, One office at a time..

  • Otis

    Seems nothing about the plaque relocates, removes, disturbes, alters, renames or rededicates the monument, but I’m sure the wording makes some squeamish because it’s historically accurate.

    • Frank Baptista

      Accurate? So the war was over slavery? How? It was legal in US northern states even after the war. Politically correct history is what these schools are teaching the youth of today. 700,000 men did not die over slavery…..

      • Otis

        From the Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union.

        Second paragraph:
        ” … Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin. …”

        You have a blessed day. 🙂

  • Frank Baptista

    This is what it has come to, changing history to accommodate people, we now have the right to not be offended or feel uncomfortable. If the war was over slavery why was it still legal in northern US states until Dec 1865? If the Confederate flag is a symbol of racism and hate what does that make the US flag, it flew over slavery for 90 years. If everything that has to do with slavery is to be removed and changed we must start with George Washington, he owned 300 slaves, Thomas Jefferson had children with his slaves. If you think 700,000 men died fighting for slavery you have been taught politically correct history.