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Protestors Against Ole Miss Changes Say the University is Trying to ‘Erase History’

Protestors against Chancellor Jones plan for increasing diversity

Credit: The University of Mississippi/ OleMiss.edu

Protestors against recent changes at the University of Mississippi say the school’s current plan to create a more diverse and inclusive environment will only “erase the history” that made the school what it is today.

Dozens of people took to the university’s campus on Saturday with Confederate flags in hand, declaring their opposition to a plan that they say will “sweep history under the rug.”

The university has been working to rid itself of a racist reputation and connections to a slavery-driven past by banning the use of Confederate flags at sports games and replacing their Colonel Reb mascot with a black bear.

The latest move has been a proposal to change a short street’s name from Confederate Drive to Chapel Lane and create a new position of vice chancellor of diversity and inclusion.

The current plan would also restrict the use of the term “Ole Miss” to sports and recreational activities instead of academics.

While Chancellor Dan Jones said the university’s intentions are to simply make the school a more diverse and welcoming environment, opponents of the changes believe the plan does not respect the school’s history.

“Not only are they not presenting the true history, but they’re trying to erase the history that is there,” Debbie Sidle, one of the organizers of Saturday’s protest and the mother of two students who graduated from Ole Miss, told The Clarion-Ledger.

Even people who did not attend the school were eager to defend the Confederate flag that has long haunted many minorities, especially in the Deep South.

“I’m a 40-year-old man,” said Kevin Nelm, a Corinth resident who has supported the university despite never attending himself. “If I don’t start standing up for my heritage, then we’re going to lose it with all this political correctness.”

Nelm said people who are offended by the Confederate flag need to “read the history books.”

For one African-American student, taking away flags and renaming streets does not even scratch the surface of the real issue.

Courtney Brown, who was sitting on the university’s lawn when the protestors marched around carrying Confederate flags, said the flag did not offend her.

Brown said flags are mere objects and street names are just titles.

“It’s not about a logo or the flag,” Brown told the Natchez Democrat. “It’s about people and what’s inside of them. People will always be offended by different things. Those flags and the Civil War and everything that’s happened is a part of Oxford’s history, and it shouldn’t be changed.”

Protestors against plans for diversity at Ole Miss

Statue of James Meredith, the first Black student enrolled at the University of Mississippi.
Credit: Thomas Graning/AJC

In spite of the protest, Jones is standing firm behind his plan.

In a recent press release, he said that the new “comprehensive plan” will only bring the university closer to its goal of “being a warm and welcoming place for every person, every day, regardless of race, religious preference, country of origin, ability, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or gender expression.”

The university has been battling a racist reputation since a deadly riot was sparked by the school’s admission of its first Black student, James Meredith, back in 1962.

Earlier this year, the statue of Meredith on the school’s campus was vandalized and desecrated with a noose and a Georgia state flag with a Confederate logo.

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3 thoughts on “Protestors Against Ole Miss Changes Say the University is Trying to ‘Erase History’

  1. Glenn Green says:

    Thank God there are still good Americans out there fighting the PC purge of American history.
    Old Miss has an incredible and unique history like no other University.
    The University Greys (or Grays) were Company A of the 11th Mississippi Infantry Regiment in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. Part of the Army of Northern Virginia, the Greys served in many of the most famous and bloody battles of the war.

    The rifle company joined the 11th Infantry at its inception on May 4, 1861 after Mississippi seceded from the Union. Their name "University Greys" derived from the gray color of the men's uniforms and from the fact that almost all of the Greys were students at the University of Mississippi. Nearly the entire student body (135 men) enlisted; only four students reported for classes in fall 1861, so few that the university closed temporarily.

    The most famous engagement of the University Greys was at Pickett's Charge during the Battle of Gettysburg, when the Confederates made a desperate frontal assault on the Union entrenchments atop Cemetery Ridge. The Greys penetrated further into the Union position than any other unit, but at the terrible cost of sustaining 100% casualties—every soldier was either killed or wounded.

    What an incredible disservice and desecration to purge all references to Old South so misinformed people can feel more comfortable. Those students that went off to fight when their country called, were the greatest of any ever to attend Old Miss "EVER". = And far far better than the liberal puke faculty and staff that are pushing for changes because they have a anti Southern racist attitude.

    Apparently one cannot express your freedom of Assembly, Speech and Religion without a permit in Oxford = which is a direct violation of the "Bill Of Rights" of the Constitution.
    I am also shocked and dismayed that the Mayor of Oxford thinks a childrens fair is more important than fighting for our most basic Constitutional Rights .
    It is certainly hoped that this is only the beginning and the citizens of Mississippi rise up in mass and put an end to the reign of these corrupt and evil politicians in the city of Oxford and at the University.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Fuck the Old South and you too. The traitorous maggots were smashed, crushed in their seditious rebellion.

  3. This is a very important issue. It was an HONOR to be a part of this Protest and March with some of the most inspiring Men and Women Ive ever met.

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