UM Release: Open Letter to Students, Faculty, and Alumni

Posted on Oct 3 2013 - 4:12pm by UM Press Release
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Chancellor Dan Jones and Athletic Director Ross Bjork issue apology to Ole Miss community.

Chancellor Dan Jones and Athletic Director Ross Bjork issue apology to Ole Miss community.

While we work to determine with certainty who disrupted the Laramie Project play, we want everyone within our university community and beyond to know that we strongly condemn the behavior exhibited Tuesday night. As a member of the Ole Miss family, each of us has a responsibility to be accountable for our actions, and these individuals will be held accountable. Our investigation will determine the degree to which any and all students were involved.

As a first step to addressing behavior at the performance Tuesday night, we will meet today with the freshman student-athletes (from various sports) who attended the play and have a dialogue about what happened, about our university-wide commitment to inclusivity and civility, and about the important role they play in representing the university. It is clear that some students badly misrepresented the culture of this university. From there, we will work with Student Affairs and the Bias Incident Response Team to determine the facts and appropriate next steps.

Incidents like this remind all educators that our job is to prepare our students to be leaders in life during their years on campus and after they graduate from Ole Miss. This behavior by some students reflects poorly on all of us, and it reinforces our commitment to teaching inclusivity and civility to young people who still have much to learn. We will be engaging our student-athletes with leaders on the subject of individuality and tolerance, so we can further enforce life lessons and develop them to their fullest potential.

On behalf of our 22,000 students, our faculty, and our staff, we apologize.

Dan Jones

Chancellor, University of Mississippi

Ross Bjork

Director of Athletics, University of Mississippi