In response to tonight’s comments from Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey’s announcement regarding the Mississippi state flag, Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum issued the following statement:
"I have great respect for Commissioner Greg Sankey, and I understand why he has taken this position regarding Mississippi’s state flag. Clearly, the current national climate is such that this debate may produce unintended consequences for our student athletes here at Mississippi State University and those at the University of Mississippi. In addition, there may be similar unintended consequences for academic pursuits at our all our state’s public universities and negative economic impacts on the state’s communities as well.
“Since 2015, our Student Association, Robert Holland Faculty Senate and university administration have been firmly on record in support of changing the state flag. I have reiterated that view to our state's leaders on multiple occasions, including during face-to-face discussions in recent days and hours. On June 12, I wrote to the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the Mississippi House reaffirming that support. The letter said, in part, that our flag should be unifying, not a symbol that divides us. I emphasized that it is time for a renewed, respectful debate on this issue."
Mark E. Keenum
Mississippi State University
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement earlier tonight:
“It is past time for change to be made to the flag of the State of Mississippi. Our students deserve an opportunity to learn and compete in environments that are inclusive and welcoming to all.
“In the event there is no change, there will be consideration of precluding Southeastern Conference championship events from being conducted in the State of Mississippi until the state flag is changed.”