Members of the Associated Student Body Senate will meet Tuesday night to decide on a new name for the title of the male homecoming personality title formerly known as “Colonel Reb.”
Tomorrow night’s meeting is the deadline for the ASB Senate to finalize the new title, and the new name will go into effect immediately after it is approved by two-thirds of the ASB Senate, according to ASB Vice President Morgan Gregory.
Both Gregory and ASB President Greg Alston told The Daily Mississippian last week that the quick decision’s timing “is not great.” In the last Senate meeting of the 2012-2013 school year on April 30, results from an informal poll of 1,035 students, represented in a chart graph, showed that 20-25 percent of voters chose the name “Mr. Ole Miss,” while 50-60 percent wrote in the name “Colonel Reb.”
According to ASB At-Large Senator Rod Bridges, the poll was created by ASB Senator Jennifer Campbell, who was unavailable for comment. The survey was sent to deans of each college at Ole Miss, and they had the option to mass email each student in the schools. When many deans failed to do that, senators took to social media to spread the poll to as many students as they could.
Bridges said the poll was not supposed to be an official decision-maker, just a tangible way to influence the Senate’s vote. He also said that many students who did not have the chance to participate in the poll were angry and confused.
After the title “Colonel Reb” was ruled unconstitutional by the ASB Judicial Council March 25, ASB senators argued Bill 13-3, a bill that would change the title to “Mr. Ole Miss.” The bill was debated for over three hours, but the Senate could not reach an agreement due to lack of student input and lack of time as the summer approached, a period when the ASB Senate could not meet.
However, Bridges argued in April that a decision should have been made before the semester’s end due to timing concerns.
“We owe it to the students to make a decision tonight,” he said during the meeting April 30.
“Colonel Reb” is still completely off the table, according to Gregory. The only item that will be debated Tuesday is what new title will replace the old one. After Bill 13-3 died in April, a new bill was drafted and will be presented Tuesday night. Gregory said the new bill recommends changing the title to “Mr. Ole Miss,” just as 13-3 did.
“If students want to assure something gets voted on, they can contact their senators and express how important this election is to them and tell them to vote,” Gregory said. “This is no longer a controversy, this is a process.”
The ASB Senate Twitter account, the Ole Miss ASB Twitter account and ASB website have not listed any information about the vote. Students can find a list of their ASB Senators on the Ole Miss ASB website, and as a courtesy, The DM has published this list on page three of this issue. As only 31 of 52 listed ASB senators have contact information on the ASB website, The DM has also found email addresses for all but one senator and included them with the names.
Gregory said there is no time for a campus-wide, official student survey.
“There has been more communication throughout the summer about a new name,” Gregory said. “We’re reaching out to organizations and students to see what their stances are and make sure we have support from all over campus.”
According to Gregory, the quick turnaround to make a decision is due to concern for the male candidates planning to campaign for fall homecoming elections. Fall student personality elections will take place on Sept. 24.
The ASB Constitution and Codes states that fall student elections must be held five weeks prior to Homecoming. This means candidates would begin campaigning the third week of school in the fall. However, Gregory said that the Senate is seeking an additional grace period of two weeks for male candidates to plan for their campaigns.
While some believe a decision should be reached now for planning and cost purposes, others believe student input is more important and that a decision of this magnitude should not be rushed.
“The ASB should develop a survey and allow every student to vote on the new title,” last year’s Colonel Reb Austin Harrison said. “If the survey is completed by the beginning of September, it will give candidates plenty of time to prepare.”
Applications for all personality elections are now available on the fourth floor of the Student Union and will be due Sept. 13, according to the ASB website.
Tomorrow night’s meeting will be held in the Union Ballroom at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.