Members of Ole Miss' Associated Student Body voted Tuesday night in favor of a resolution requesting the university stop flying the Mississippi state flag -- which has come under fire across the state and country for its inclusion of the Confederate battle emblem -- on its campus. The resolution passed by a vote of 33-15-1, according to The Daily Mississippian.
The resolution itself technically doesn't remove the flag -- it formally requests the university to do so.
"As a state institution, we fly the flags representing our state and nation," the school said in a statement leading up to the vote. "However, as a university committed to fostering a welcoming and inclusive campus for all students, we continue to join other leaders in Mississippi to encourage our government to change the state flag."
The resolution was proposed by the president of the Ole Miss College Democrats, Allen Coon, who said in a statement last week that, "The presence of the Mississippi state flag on the campus of the University of Mississippi divides our student body, undermines efforts to promote inclusion and violates the UM Creed, which calls for us all to respect the dignity of each person."
Coon's leadership kept up during the closing debate right before the vote.
Allen Coon delivering a powerful speech on the floor.— Sierra Mannie (@SKEEerra) October 21, 2015
Look around this room. Whose heritage does this flag represent? Whose heritage does it not? - Allen Coon— Sierra Mannie (@SKEEerra) October 21, 2015
The removal of the flag isn't contained to Ole Miss. Three other public universities in the state have already hauled it down, and the city of Oxford voted to remove it roughly two months ago.
The Confederate flag long held an uncomfortably close association with Ole Miss athletics, dating back to the crowds that waved it with racist fervor during former governor Ross Barnett's infamous pro-segregation I Love Mississippi speech at a 1962 football game. But the Ole Miss sports community has recently been on the forefront of the movement to remove it from the state flag. Hugh Freeze and athletic director Ross Bjork publicly condemned it in September and both men later joined Archie Manning, hoops coach Andy Kennedy and baseball coach Mike Bianco in signing a petition to formally change it.
An alumni-led movement known as #FinsUp #FlagsDown has also been gaining momentum in its quest to convince tailgating fans to remove Confederate flags from the Grove.
But the most jarringly effective condemnation came from middle linebacker C.J. Johnson, who in a September interview with ESPN ripped those in Oxford that still fly the Confederate flag.
It sickens me when I see [a Confederate flag] on people's cars on campus. If you have the Confederate flag on your vehicle, you have a problem. And I don't care if it's socially what you believe in or it's morally what you believe in or you're just doing it for shits and giggles. It's just the fact of what it stands for. It's almost like you might as well put a tag on the front of your car that says 'n-----.' That's really what it boils down to. You might as well just put a big tag on the front of your car or hang a big flag on the back of your car and just say the N-word.
(Quick #sports sidenote: Johnson was back at practice on Tuesday and sounds confident that he'll play against Texas A&M.)