The Student Government Association hosted a public forum on Nov. 16 to discuss the state flag on campus.
The event was held at Pope Banquet Hall and included guest speaker Rufus Ward, a Columbus native and local historian. Ward gave a history lesson on the background of the state flag, including the various versions of the Mississippi flag and how they came to be. After he spoke, those attending were encouraged to discuss the topic with others at their tables. People then got the chance to share their opinion or thoughts about the flag in front of everyone at the forum.
Keirra Birch, a junior and nursing student, said she expected the forum to be more conversational. She explained that she thought it would be like the Power and Privilege seminar, with students in conversation with one another, rather than listening to a speaker talk while people were separated by seating arrangements.
“I think this school is very laissez-faire when it comes to political issues, and hopefully [the forum] will just get people engaged in some type of political issue,” Birch said.
Kelly Benford, a sophomore and communication major, thought the forum was informative but questioned its purpose.
“I went in with optimistic attitude. I didn’t go in, you know, mad about nothing. I had my opinion, but I listened to theirs and that made me, you know, understand stuff from a different perspective,” Benford said.
Damara Fredette, a senior in legal studies, thought that the forum provided helpful and necessary information about the flag. She said that the flag should be something that is continually discussed.
“I hope two things. First of all, that more people ─ more students who are of age to vote ─ will realize that it is a crucial, crucial factor in changing communities, states, counties. That they vote and get their voices heard, and the second thing is that people do use the knowledge they gained from that forum and possibly formulate an opinion one way or the other based on, again, information,” Fredette said.
This was the first meeting sponsored by the SGA in which students were encouraged to gather with the public to discuss this topic.