Ole Miss votes on replacement for old "Col. Reb" mascot





Colonel Reb shall not rise again. That much is certain.

The University of Mississippi dumped the mascot — a caricature of a white plantation owner — in a 2003 effort to distance the school from Old South stereotypes. It's been without a mascot ever since. A vote Tuesday could change that.

Students will have only two choices in the online referendum: yes, replace the colonel with something else — perhaps a riverboat gambler or a colonial soldier — or no, remain the only school in the Southeastern Conference without a mascot.

In a world where football is akin to religion, and sports symbolism carries the power of a totem, this is no small matter. Stories about the upcoming vote have run prominently in the campus newspaper for weeks, along with "Save Colonel Reb" advertisements.

"We're tired of having nothing to represent us," said junior Josh Hinton, a member of the Associated Student Body, which approved a resolution calling for the vote. "We've gotten our song taken away. We want to have some kind of tradition back."

Ole Miss, with its pristine lawns and white-columned buildings, has struggled for more than a decade with how to retain that tradition while shedding symbols of the Old South. It's all part of an effort to remove past racial tensions that date back to 1962, when a deadly riot followed James Meredith's attempt to become the university's first black student.



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