Confederate monument at Ole Miss vandalized; person arrested

The statue atop the Confederate soldier monument at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss., is seen in this Feb. 23, 2019, file photo. The statue is about 6 1/2 feet tall, and the marble monument on which it stands is about 22 1/2 feet tall. The monument was vandalized Saturday, May 30, 2020.

OXFORD, Miss. — A Confederate monument on the campus of the University of Mississippi was vandalized Saturday.

The words “spiritual genocide” were painted on each side of the monument, along with red handprints, The Oxford Eagle reported.

University police officers arrested one unidentified person at the scene Saturday evening, according to the newspaper.

The vandalism occurred as demonstrators across the country protested the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on his neck.

The state College Board has delayed acting on a recommendation by university administrators, student leaders and faculty leaders to move the statue from a central spot on campus to a Civil War cemetery that is still on campus but in a secluded location.

The University of Mississippi was founded in 1848, and the marble statue of a saluting Confederate soldier was put up in 1906.

It is one of many Confederate monuments erected across the South more than a century ago. Critics say its display near the university’s main administrative building sends a signal that Ole Miss glorifies the Confederacy and glosses over the South’s history of slavery.

The statue statue was a rallying point in 1962 for people who rioted to oppose court-ordered integration of the university.