Dear UM faculty, staff and students,
We have committed to be transparent about the monument and its relocation. Last Monday (October 7), I received confirmation from our Facilities Planning Department that Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) has the monument slated to be on its December agenda.
Based on when we submitted the request, MDAH had initially anticipated it being on its December agenda. MDAH has informed us that, “with the complexity of the move, both the development and the review of the specs have taken longer than we had anticipated.” MDAH has indicated that they are “on track for December.”
If we receive any further updates, we will let you know.
Noel E. Wilkin, Ph.D.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Dear students, faculty and staff,
As we begin the academic year, it is important for you to know about the progress that has been made to relocate the Confederate monument to the cemetery on campus, which is a more suitable location. The steps to relocate the monument are as follows.
- Submit a letter of intent to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) – Completed March 20, 2019
- Review meeting with MDAH – Completed April 2, 2019
- Contract with a firm to develop necessary plans – Completed June 3, 2019
- Develop the relocation and placement plans and drawings, and conduct site work to the required administrative, architectural, and engineering specifications – Completed August 27, 2019
- Submit relocation and reinstallation plans to MDAH for consideration – Completed August 27, 2019
- Remaining steps – consideration and decision by MDAH; if approved by MDAH, submission of agenda item to Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) that includes MDAH approval; hire a contractor to perform the work
I am pleased that the plan and necessary drawings are complete, and I appreciate all of the work to develop the required documentation for submission. As we move toward this important change for our university, the university administration remains committed to abiding by the state rules and laws and IHL policies that govern all construction projects on our campus.
We are following the steps necessary for successful relocation and will maintain steady and committed progress to accomplish this relocation. I reiterate that this will place the monument in a more suitable location, one that is commensurate with the purpose that is etched on its side.
I wish you all a successful academic year as we continue efforts to make our campus a positive, productive, and welcoming educational environment for every student who joins our community of scholars seeking truth, knowledge, and wisdom.
Larry D. Sparks
The university administration and its students, faculty, and staff are deeply concerned by the offensive and hurtful image captured in the photo at the Emmett Till historical marker. Given that we first learned about this incident in March, the university launched an internal review last week of our handling of the incident report about the photo, and we discovered a breakdown in communications between units on our campus. Our ongoing review has updated our understanding of some key facts in this process, and we are committed to keeping you informed.
In the last 24 hours, national and regional media outlets have reported on an image depicting three young men holding guns in front of a bullet-riddled sign that commemorates the place in the Mississippi Delta where Emmett Till’s body was found. In 1955, Emmett Till was abducted, tortured, and brutally killed at the age of 14 after being accused of offending a white woman in a grocery store. His death was a major catalyst of the civil rights movement. Based on what the photo implies and the pleasure these men seem to take in the denigration of this commemorative sign, this image is offensive and hurtful.
Earlier today, the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department announced an arrest in the murder of University of Mississippi student Alexandria “Ally” Kostial. Charges have been filed against Brandon Theesfeld, a UM student who has been suspended by the university.