After overwhelming support from the university’s community the interim chancellor has removed the Mississippi state flag from campus.
The flag has waved for 167 years, displaying a confederate emblem above campus.
Interim Chancellor, Dr. Morris Stocks, called to take down the flag over the weekend. He decided to remove the flag when the campus opened Monday morning. There were several staff members that watched the flag come down from the Lyceum.
“The police officers came, and they were in uniform,” said Stocks. “They performed a very respectful ceremony. Lowered the flag and folded it.”
The Mississippi state flag is being prepared to store in the university’s archives, along with pictures of the historic event.
“We want to have a welcoming environment for everyone,” said Stocks. “We felt the best way to do that was by lowering the state flag and placing it in our university’s archives.”
Stocks said he was greatly influenced by the campus community to take down the flag. Over the past few weeks, the undergraduate student senate, faculty senate and graduate student senate held meetings to vote on whether or not the flag should be removed from campus grounds.
A majority of senate members asked for the flag to come down. The undergraduates voted for a resolution to take down the flag with a 33-15-one vote, and the faculty senate joined their resolution voting 41-1. The graduate student senate also shared their support by voting 9-1 in favor of taking down the flag.
The undergraduate student body lead the initiative to take down the state’s flag on campus. One week ago, the associated student body held a rally to protest the flag.
Buka Okoye is the president of the university’s NAACP chapter.
“This week has just been amazing,” said Okoye. “Having the students just come together and speak up on a topic that for the most part has been ignored for the past couple decades; for the first time saying, this can no longer be tolerated, lets talk about this and lets take the symbol down.”
Allen Coon, College Democrats President, has made a big impact on chancellor’s decision to take down the flag. He said that his push to remove the flag, came after the racial related massacre in Charleston, SC this summer.
“We know that we have momentum, because of the events that occurred in Charleston and the national conversation that’s been occurring in communities and campuses across the nation,” said Coon. “So we thought now is the time, if ever, for us to act and to bring these issues to the forefront of the conversation.”
The University of Mississippi is the fourth campus to take down the state flag. Jackson State University, Mississippi Valley State University and Alcorn State University have also stopped flying the flag.
In 2001, Mississippi State University’s faculty senate voted in support of changing the state flag before a statewide referendum. Both Delta State University and the University of Southern Mississippi have made statement about redesigning the Mississippi state flag.
“It’s really impactful to know that we as students, can make a difference on our campus,” said Coon.
With the momentum growing with the flag removal Coon said he wants to address Ventress Hall and the confederate statue in the circle next, but he’s grateful of the impact he and others have made on campus.
“I just think today is a very powerful moment for the University of Mississippi,” said Coon. “I’m very proud to be a student here.”
Navy blazers, khaki’s and freshly cut hair.
It’s pledge season in Oxford, MS, and that means business is booming for local beauty shop, The Parlor.
At The Parlor, male clientele helps drive the business. Especially during the fall football season. New fraternity pledges must keep their hair above their eyebrows, collars and ears until they become active members, making them routine customers.
Kaylee Walker-Gore is a hairdresser at The Parlor and refers to fall as “pledge season”.
“This time of year we get all the new freshmen in,” said Walker-Gore. “We have pledge cuts, its what we call them. We clean them up and get them all ready.”
“I like to keep my hair short, and it grows way to fast,” said Fred Johns.
Johns works at Rafters Bar and Grill, and all the other men he works with get their hair cut at The Parlor.
“It’s just a good place to get your hair cut,” said Fred Johns.
Walker-Gore also sees a lot of male athletes come to The Parlor for a trim. She said that mostly baseball players come in to get rid of their long, shaggy hair.
“Occasionally one will come in, and be like ‘I’m tired of it, I’m hot all the time, I’m sweating and I just want to cut it off,’” said Walker-Gore.
The Parlor sees a lot of the athletic program come through their doors, including the athlete’s dietitian. A men’s haircut is $20.
“I worked at another place before this,” said Walker-Gore. “I never expected to have this many guys here.”
A majority of The Parlor’s clients are Ole Miss male students, but female students and local residents help the business stay in full swing. Walker-Gore says women come in mostly for haircuts and highlights. Like pledge season, young women come in droves too.
“We do see a lot of them during the times like date parties and formals and pageants,” said Walker-Gore. “Especially around prom time with high school girls.”
The Parlor also offers full spa services and spray tans. The salon uses the fake bake brand to give an even faux tan. The spray tan usually lasts customers seven to 10 days. Walker-Gore says the busiest time for spray tans is during Panhellenic recruitment.
“We have a lot of those that come in and we try to get them ready,” said Walker-Gore. “We try to make them look a little better in their dresses.”
When the students aren’t in town, the residents of Oxford keep the business thriving. Throughout the year residents will come in and get their hair done, but the older clientele keeps the business busy in the summer.
“A lot of our older people come in really early in the mornings,” said Walker-Gore. “Our younger people come in later in the afternoons.”
The salon was voted Best Salon in the Oxford Eagle’s “Best of Oxford 2015.” The Parlor services include hair care and coloring, spa services, men’s hair and face care and airbrush tanning and makeup.
While the residents of Oxford are loyal customers, The Parlor’s majority of clients are students. Walker-Gore says she doesn’t mind it, especially during the school breaks.
“We get to spend time with our families, without feeling like we’re taking away from the shop and not giving out clients 100% all the time,” said Walker-Gore. “It actually works out pretty good.”
The Ole Miss Food Bank is providing more than a service, its providing care.
“We are all family,” said Savannah Thomas, director of the Ole Miss food bank. “When one of us is hurting then other students are there to pick up the pieces and help in any way."
Students enrolled at the university can use the food bank as much as they want no matter their financial status. The food bank offers nonperishable goods, school supplies and toiletries.
Thomas wants to bring awareness to this service that began in 2012. She wants to eliminate the “embarrassment factor” of coming into the food bank.
“We are all college students,” said Thomas. “There are many different reasons behind not being able to buy food, whether it is a one time thing or a consistent need.”
Student identity is always kept confidential. The food bank asks each student to bring in their Ole Miss ID. However, the student’s name and student ID number is never recorded. The service is strictly for students. Non-students are directed to other pantries in Oxford.
The food bank is always open. During the winter and summer breaks its open for shorter hours. If called, the staff will come and unlock the door even if the food bank is closed. Lindsey Abernathy, food bank staff advisor, said keeping the pantry open is one of the most important jobs for volunteers.
“If anyone that has access to the key is on campus and available, they’ll come unlock it for you,” said Abernathy.
When there aren’t volunteers available, Abernathy and Thomas unlock the doors. Their numbers are posted outside of the food bank door. Thomas recalls being called after a football game. She was debating calling someone else to unlock the door, but ended up going to unlock it herself.
“The customer was overly appreciative and told me she hadn’t eaten all day,” said Thomas. “She kept going on about how positive we were to the campus. It truly humbled me.”
Volunteers are required to attend an hour training session before working at the food bank. They are taught about the confidentiality policy and where to pick up the key. The training sessions occur once a month.
“We’re really thankful to have so many students interested in helping,” said Abernathy. “That way we’re able to keep the food bank open.”
The food bank offers students school supplies and toiletries such as laundry soap. Last year, they added a refrigerator to the pantry to give students fresh options. Abernathy said that the Ole Miss Gardening Club will start providing fresh produce for the food bank. The first harvest is expected this month.
“We have high hopes to get some of that food into the food bank,” said Abernathy.
Thomas and Abernathy both want to see more students utilize the food bank. The food bank takes away the added stress of students trying to find their next meal. They stress that the food bank is anonymous and there’s no limit to how much a student can take.
“We are all in this together and the food bank is grateful to be a vital part of the Ole Miss family,” said Thomas.
Ole Miss is having a celebration of local food in the Student Union on Thursday. The food bank will have a table out to bring awareness to their service. They will also be asking for donations.
Students can donate non-perishable food items, school supplies and toiletries to any of the donation boxes on campus. The items most needed are peanut butter, canned pastas and laundry detergent. The food bank’s big food drive happens around Thanksgiving. Ole Miss hosts its annual “Grove and Give” for donations.
“We hope that students realize that the food bank is there for them,” said Abernathy.
There for them like the rest of the Ole Miss family and community.