By Josh Mitchell
Corinth Today News Editor
Mississippi State University “has not taken a position” on the Starkville Board of Aldermen’s 4-3 vote Tuesday to deny a permit for a parade that supporters said would support diversity, including the LGBTQ community.
“That is a decision for the duly-elected leadership of the city, and the university strives to respect the decisions of city leaders as we likewise expect them to respect university governance decisions,” MSU spokesman Sid Salter said in a statement Thursday. “The university has yet to receive any requests regarding this event but if we do we will evaluate them using the same criteria that we use in evaluating all organization requests and then render a decision in keeping with our operating policies.”
Salter cited two policies, one of which said, “Mississippi State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, pregnancy, gender identity, status as a U.S. veteran, and/or any other status protected by applicable law. The University will not tolerate unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation and is committed to preventing or stopping them whenever they may occur at the University or in its programs.”
The Mississippi ACLU released a statement Wednesday saying the Starkville Board of Aldermen discriminated against the LGBTQ community. The ACLU urged “the city of Starkville to act swiftly in approving a request from a grassroots group planning to host the city’s first Pride Parade on March 24.”
About a dozen people, including gay and straight residents, spoke in favor of the Starkville Pride parade at the board of aldermen meeting Tuesday, saying the event would promote diversity and inclusiveness. Supporters said Starkville, home of Mississippi State University, is a welcoming place and that the pride parade would show the world that the community respects diversity.
A couple of residents opposed the parade, including a woman who said “God made Adam and Eve.” A local pastor also voiced opposition.
During the meeting, a city official confirmed that the application submitted by the Starkville Pride group was complete and met all the requirements.