OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi officials say they have initiated a thorough review of an election night incident that apparently degenerated into the use of uncivil language and racial epithets.
University of Mississippi police were notified by students shortly before midnight Tuesday (Nov. 6) that Twitter chatter was indicating students were gathering near the student union to protest the results of the election. The officers found 30-40 students gathered in front of the union, and over the next 20 minutes the gathering had grown to more than 400 students, many of whom were chanting political slogans.
The crowd was ordered to disperse by university police, and after about 25 minutes students had returned to residence halls. About 100 students gathered again at one hall, and university police dispersed the group and made two arrests for disorderly conduct, including one for public intoxication and one for failure to comply with police orders.
"While we are grateful that there were no injuries and there was no property damage, we are very disappointed in those students who took a very immature and uncivil approach to expressing their views about the election," said University of Mississippi Chancellor Dan Jones.
"The gathering seems to have been fueled by social media, and the conversation should have stayed there," said Jones in a media release.
"Unfortunately, early news reports quoted social media comments that were inaccurate. Too, some photographs published in social media portrayed events that police did not observe on campus," he said.
"Nevertheless, 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."
Jones said, "Parents are being notified that it's a normal day on campus and that one of America's safest campuses is safe again this morning, though all of us are ashamed of the few students who have negatively affected the reputations of each of us and of our university. We are initiating a thorough review of this incident to determine the facts and any follow-up actions that may be necessary."
The university, said Jones, is "reminding our students of relevant statements within the university creed: 'The University of Mississippi is a community of learning dedicated to nurturing excellence in intellectual inquiry and personal character in an open and diverse environment. As a voluntary member of this community: I believe in respect for the dignity of each person. I believe in fairness and civility. I believe in personal and professional integrity.'"