On Election Night last November, more than 400 students gathered in front of the student union on the campus of the University of Mississippi to protest the reelection of President Barack Obama. Police quickly dispersed the crowd but another smaller group reassembled near a residence hall. An Obama campaign poster was burned at the rally and students reportedly shouted racial slurs. Two arrested were made on disorderly conduct charges.
University of Mississippi Chancellor Dan Jones, in a statement to the university community, said that “the reports of uncivil language and shouted racial epithets appear to be accurate and are universally condemned by the university, student leaders and the vast majority of students who are more representative of our university creed. All of us are ashamed of the few students who have negatively affected the reputations of each of us and of our university.”
The university formed to a committee to investigate the incident and that group recently released its report. The committee found that students using Facebook and Twitter were responsible for assembling the crowd. While press reports initially called the assembly a riot, the committee found that this was not the case.
Committee c0-chair Leslie Banahan stated that many of the 400 students in attendance were merely curious onlookers and that there were no injuries or property damage. “It wasn’t a riot,” she said, “but it was a painful, ugly night for many Ole Miss students.”
The names of 14 students were forwarded by the committee to either the Office of Student Conduct or the Office of the Provost. These students, including 10 whose online posts were said to be “particularly egregious,” may face disciplinary actions.