We’re proud of the University of Mississippi and the way the Ole Miss administration and the great majority of its students have adopted the progressive views of a modern Mississippi and rejected the narrow, repressive ways of the past.
That’s what makes the ugly incident on the campus election night so unfortunate. A group of students, apparently dissatisfied with the re-election of our president, engaged in taunts and racial epithets. The group grew to more than 400 before being dispersed by police.
The disturbance got national coverage on the television networks, damaging the university’s fragile image.
Perhaps even worse, some of the mindless postings on Facebook, Twitter and the like reinforced the belief of some around the country that we are all a bunch of racist bubbas down here in Mississippi.
We know, of course, that is not true. We commend Chancellor Dan Jones for immediately becoming proactive in dealing with the fallout. His statement and letter to students, parents, alumni and the news media acknowledged the situation and the university’s condemnation of uncivil language and racial epithets. He made it clear the school will deal with those involved. More than 700 people gathered at the university Wednesday night for a We Are One Mississippi Candlelight Walk.
Beyond the classrooms, a university is an opportunity for students to broaden their horizons beyond a high school circle of friends. It’s a chance to meet and learn from people from other races, other cultures, other religions and other countries.
It starts with a civil tolerance of others.