Sorority at the University of Southern Mississippi Disciplines Six Students for Blackface Incident

Six students at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg were placed on probation by their sorority for dressing in blackface to attend an off-campus party. The students went in costume depicting themselves as members of the Huxtable family from the 1980s television sitcom, The Cosby Show.

The students, all members of the Phi Mu sorority, will not be disciplined by the university. Dean of Students Eddie Holloway, stated, “Though it is clear that these women had no ill intent, it was also clear that they had little cultural awareness or competency, and did not understand the historical implication of costuming in blackface.”

Related Articles


  1. Some in the Black community have tried to justify this portrayal of the Huxtables. The photograph that is shown does not bear any resemblance to anyone who played even small parts on The Cosby Show. How pathetic. Sensitivity training might do some good; however the picture indicates that this is how Black people are seen by those six students, as well as others.

    What a pathetic message the incident sends in the Year 2011.

    • LaVerne, while I won’t engage in a prolonged discussion about this incident or attempt to defend the actions of these Southern Miss students here, I would like to point out that the image portrayed is not a Southern Miss student. I am not sure of its origin, but have contacted the JBHE to request that it is identified properly.

      Jim Coll
      Chief Communication Officer
      The University of Southern Mississippi

  2. My feelings are that the University is also insensitive to what this kind of behavior reflects. These young ladies are, we assume, well educated and know what the plight of Blacks has been over hundreds of years. I think that the University is not being responsible.

  3. Has anything really changed in ole Mississippi? And these women are supposed to college educated…really? Their actions speak volumes about the kind of education they are receiving at the University of Southern Mississippi. What a shame that a college education is wasted on them.

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

University of Virginia School of Law Establishes the Education Rights Institute

The new institute, led by law professor Kimberly Jenkins Robinson, aims to ensure that all students receive a high-quality K-12 education and help schools understand how to address obstacles facing disadvantaged students.

In Memoriam: Francine Oputa, 1953-2023

During her 30-year career at Fresno State, Dr. Oputa served as director of the Center for Women and Culture and director of the Central Valley Cultural Heritage Institute. She retired as director of the Cross Cultural and Gender Center in 2021.

Is the Black-White Income Gap Finally Shrinking for Good?

In 2019, the median Black household income was 59.7 percent of the median income of non-Hispanic White families. In 2022, In the income gap was 65.2 percent.

Study Finds Blacks More Likely to Live Behind Decaying Levees Than Whites

While nationwide the disparity for Blacks is less than 20 percent, there are high levels of disparity for Black populations behind levees in Kentucky (284 percent) and Tennessee (156 percent).

Featured Jobs