Ole Miss Makes Big Changes to Its Campus

By Julissa Catalan


The University of Mississippi has announced plans to diversify its campus, aiming to rid it of its plantation-era history.

“Our unique history regarding race provides not only a larger responsibility for providing leadership on race issues, but also a large opportunityone we should and will embrace,” Chancellor Dan Jones wrote in a report that was developed with the help of a university committee and external consultants.

The report indicates that Confederate Drive, a short street near Fraternity Row, will be renamed Chapel Lane.

To tell the history of slavery and segregation in the South, the report recommends that explanatory plaques be added to historic symbols such as a statue of a Confederate soldier that stands near the administrative building.

The chancellor’s report also recommends creating a new job of Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion.

Though the university will continue to use the nickname “Ole Miss” for athletics, the report is pushing for the school to go by its formal name of the University of Mississippi when it comes to academics. The phrase “Ole Miss” became associated with the school when it won an 1897 name-the-yearbook contest, but the phrase also has darker connotations: It is what slaves called a plantation owner’s wife.

“Our longstanding nickname is beloved by the vast majority of our students and alumni,” Jones wrote. “A few, especially among our faculty, are uncomfortable using the term ‘Ole Miss’some at all, and some within the academic context. Some object simply because it is a nickname and prefer the more formal name, and some express concern about its origin, believing that the term is racist.”

The report also states that another campus street will be renamed as wellat the request of athletes and alumni.

Coliseum Drive (near the basketball arena) will now be called Roy Lee “Chucky” Mullins Driveafter a Black football player who was left a quadriplegic after a 1989 injury. Mullins died in 1991.

As of last academic year, the University of Mississippi had 22,286 students on its six campuses. Mississippi has a Black population of 37.4 percent, while UM’s Black enrollment stands at 15.4 percent. The school’s overall underrepresented-student enrollment was 24.8 percent.

Chancellor Jones’ report comes after a long-standing history of racism at Ole Miss.

The school has struggled with racial discrimination ever since James Merediththe first Black student to attend the universityenrolled in 1962. His admission to the school led to violence on the Oxford campus and the arrival of 500 U.S. marshals, ordered to the school by then-U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy. Despite the attempts of the state’s governor to prevent the integration of Ole Miss, Meredith was allowed on campus less than a week later.

The flag flying over Mississippi at the time of Meredith’s admission to the universitythe same one flying over the state since 1894contains the Confederate battle flag in the canton. The emblem of the pro-slavery South during the Civil War reappeared during the civil-rights movement as a symbol against desegregation. It also appeared in the Georgia state flag from 19562001.

Last October, the university launched an investigation into heckling that included anti-gay slurs at an on-campus performance of The Laramie Project, a play based on the robbery and murder of Matthew Shepard, who was targeted because of his sexual orientation.

Just this past February, a noose and the aforementioned flag were found draped on a Meredith statue. The FBI was called to join the investigation once it was labeled a hate crime. A national fraternity suspended its University of Mississippi chapter after learning three members were responsible for the incident. Witnesses told authorities that the suspects yelled racial slurs as they defaced the statue.

Latest News

Three BASF Women Leaders Honored at the Manufacturing Institute’s 2021 STEP Ahead Awards

Originally published at basf.com. BASF ranked No. 12 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Three BASF leaders in manufacturing were among 130 women recognized nationally at The Manufacturing Institute’s ninth annual STEP Ahead Awards. Focusing on science, technology, engineering and production (STEP), the program recognizes women…

Wells Fargo Pledges $1 Million to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund for HBCU Seniors

Originally published at newsroom.wf.com. Wells Fargo ranked No. 25 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Wells Fargo and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) are teaming up to help close the graduation gap for college seniors attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The $1 million Thurgood Marshall…

Hershey Employees and Retirees in the US and Canada Pledged More Than $900,000 in 2021 To Support Nonprofit Organizations

Originally published on LinkedIn. The Hershey Company ranked No. 10 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.    Each year, our Season of Giving campaign encourages Hershey employees to make a difference by supporting nonprofit organizations which they find to be meaningful. Employees and retirees in…

Creating Windows and Mirrors: Hershey’s Amber Murayi on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the ‘World’s Top Female-Friendly Company’

Amber Murayi is the Hershey Company’s Senior Director of Enterprise Strategy & Business Model Innovation & Co-lead of the Women’s Business Resource Group. The Hershey Company ranked No. 10 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.    My position affords me a unique view of DEI…

Author Alice Sebold

Author Alice Sebold Apologizes for Her Role in the Wrongful Conviction of the Black Man Charged With Raping Her

In her acclaimed 1999 memoir Lucky, author Alice Sebold told the story of being raped in 1981 when she was a student at Syracuse University. The case resulted in a Black man named Anthony Broadwater being convicted and sent to prison. Sadly, Broadwater was innocent and wrongfully convicted — and…

Black renters

New Study Reveals Landlords Consistently Discriminate Against Potential Renters With Black or Hispanic ‘Sounding’ Names

In the largest study of its kind ever conducted, researchers with the National Bureau of Economic Research have uncovered what many people of color already know when hunting for an apartment or home: most landlords consistently discriminate or harbor bias against non-white individuals looking to rent their property.  Bloomberg’s Kelsey…