By agreeing to uphold the Ole Miss Creed, everyone in our community pledges to have respect for the dignity of each person. This is something many Ole Miss alumni and some in the fan base have neglected.
In case you missed it, many students protested against the Institutions of Higher Learning and the process in which the new chancellor, Glenn Boyce, was appointed last Friday. We came with our signs and voices but with neither hate nor violence. If we seemed angry, it’s because we were. Our anger comes from the passion we have for our school and peers, both of whom deserve better. Many of the spectators at the press conference can’t say the same. They encouraged violence and did not uphold the Creed they love to spout. When Cam Calisch was forcibly removed, many cheered and wished the same for her fellow protesters. Online, comments were worse.
There is a large online community of Ole Miss fans who have united over their hatred of University of Mississippi students who protest, or snowflakes, as they like to call us. Not only do they express their hatred of young people wanting to fix inherited problems, but they proposed action as well.
“Should’ve tazed some of them…LOL!”
“Pepper spray works good also!!”
“Their fault for allowing students to think they have a voice.”
These are just a few of the online comments made about student protesters. These Facebook commenters are wishing harm on protesters who are exercising their First Amendment right — one that the commenters evidently believe we’re not entitled to. One commenter argued that involved professors should be fired and every student protester should be put on probation — essentially arguing that we should be punished for exercising our First Amendment right. It is bold for the same communities that adore Colonel Reb and other southern traditions to argue which amendments we are warranted.
Some of them say we’re liberal out-of-state students who want to radically change Ole Miss, and therefore shouldn’t be allowed here. In 2018, 45.9% of undergraduate students were from out of state, and on the current football roster, there are 72 out-of-state students out of 118 football players. If Ole Miss were to decrease the amount of out-of-state students, the dynamic of the university as a whole would change. Ole Miss football as we know it would change, and I don’t think these fans have considered this perspective.
Yes, I’m from out of state, but in Tennessee I was surrounded by the same values as my Mississippian peers: honesty, decency and intense devotion to what I believe. Ole Miss doesn’t have a disproportionate amount of student protesters; the whole country is changing, and students are demanding action everywhere. I oppose the workings of the IHL because I believe that everyone at Ole Miss, and all future generations of Ole Miss students, deserve a system that does what is best for our current education climate and not the pockets of past students and fans with a superiority complex.
What these distracted fans fail to realize is that this university is changing for the better, and they just don’t like what they can’t understand.
Emily Stewart is a freshman international studies and Arabic major from Columbia, Tennessee.