The namesake of the University of Mississippi’s journalism school is facing backlash after sharing a racially offensive Facebook post decrying the chaos that led to dozens of arrests after a football game.
Ed Meek, the namesake for the university’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media, on Wednesday shared a photo of two scantily-clad Black women who were seemingly dressed for a night out on the town. In the lengthy post, Meek griped about the rowdiness and fist fights that followed Saturday’s game and made comments that many deemed racist.
“On The Oxford Square Saturday Night,” he began. “I hesitated until now to publish these pictures, but I think it’s important that our community see what the camera is seeing at 2 a.m. after a ballgame … I hear there were 180 police working the weekend, but of all the pictures late night, the fights and scenes, I’ve seen no police presence. Chief of Police Joey East is quoted in The Mississippian (newspaper) as saying police made 40 arrest and that there were fights in most venues.”
“Enough, Oxford and Ole Miss leaders, get on top of this before it is too late,” he continued. “A 3 percent decline in enrollment is nothing compared to what we will see if this continues … and real estate values will plummet as will tax revenue. We all share in the responsibility to protect the values we hold dear that have made Oxford and Ole Miss known nationally.”
According to The Oxford Eagle, Meek’s post garnered over 1,000 comments in a matter of hours with critics dubbing him a racist and wondering what the heck he was thinking. The university’s longtime vice chancellor of public relations and marketing eventually deleted the post, but the damage had already been done.
Student Twanna Gordon Phillips questioned the one-sidedness of Meek’s post and wondered why he only singled out the Black women. The two women in the photos were students enrolled at the university, the Clarion-Ledger reported.
“I’m confused … on Ole Miss game days, every other white female is dressed like this – especially if they’re going out afterwards,” Phillips told the newspaper. “So by you posting these two Black girls and the assumption you are making, (it) only makes you sound racist.”
The post also caught the attention of Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter, who denounced the rhetoric.
“While we all want to ensure a safe, family-friendly environment at the University and in Oxford, I must condemn the tone and content of Ed Meek’s post from earlier today,” Vitter commented. “The photos in his post suggest an unjustified racial overtone that is highly offensive.”
“Ed, I urge you to withdraw your comment and apologize to anyone offended,” he added.
Angry folks have since launched an online petition calling for Meek’s name to be stripped from the school of journalism. So far, the document has received nearly 2,000 signatures.
The Daily Mississippian reported that most of the arrests made Saturday were for public intoxication, while a handful was also for simple assault. The Oxford Police Department made 40 arrests in total.
“Everybody had issues (Saturday) night. Every club, I think, had fights in it — it wasn’t just one area,” said police chief Joey East.
Meek has since apologized for the post, writing, “my intent was to point out we have a problem in The Grove and on the Oxford Square.”