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OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Interim University of Mississippi Chancellor Morris Stocks says he ordered the Mississippi state flag taken down because it “had become a point of contention.”

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Stocks was among a small group that watched three university police officers lower the flag from a pole in front of the university’s administration building around sunrise Monday.

The move could ease the path for Stocks’ likely successor, Jeffrey Vitter. Currently the University of Kansas provost, Vitter is likely to be hired Thursday by Mississippi’s College Board if on-campus interviews go well.

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Stocks says he was trying to end campus contention, not shield Vitter from a difficult decision.

The interim chancellor says the flag was sent to university archives and will be displayed in the library alongside resolutions from students, faculty and staff requesting its removal.

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