At Ole Miss, the name Ole Miss is now a problem

tags: Ole Miss, University of Mississippi



To most University of Mississippi students and alumni, calling the institution "Ole Miss" is just natural. It's what people say. University email addresses are @olemiss.edu, not @umiss.edu. But not everyone likes the name.

The university's announcement on Friday that, as part of a review of race relations at the university, it would encourage "appropriate" use of the term, won praise from some quarters but plenty of criticism. So did a series of other announcements by the university, which is hoping to change its association with symbols of the Confederacy. Reports commissioned by the university (which influenced Friday's announcement) angered some students and alumni -- particularly those with ties to the Greek system -- by discussing the perceptions of some black students and alumni who are far more critical of university traditions and life at the university than are white students and alumni.

One of the reports, discussing a student focus group, linked the Greek system and the symbols of Southern history. "A number of students believe that the traditional fraternities and sororities serve as attractors, incubators, and protectors for students wedded to the symbols and beliefs of the South’s racist past. With few exceptions, the majority of the group, white and black, nodded in agreement. The African American students shared examples of indignities they have been subject to or witness of that involved the fraternities and sororities.




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