Black Student Union

University of Mississippi

-Statement on Senator Hyde Smith, November 20, 2018

November 20, 2018

After the racist and outrageously insensitive comments made by Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith on November 2nd 2018, we, the Black Student Union at the University of Mississippi call for her immediate resignation from the Senate of the United States. Due to her egregious remarks, we no longer feel her character is conducive to all members of our community, and her representation now hinders the state of Mississippi’s ability to effectively progress. The state of Mississippi historically has one of the largest number of lynchings as well as countless examples of institutional voter suppression. The senator’s apathetic response to how problematic her actions were presents the need for her immediate resignation.

As college students, participation in state and local elections is a civic duty that we have the right to exercise.  Hyde-Smith alluding to the fact that she does not see the necessity of all citizen’s voting, more specifically those of color, is abhorrent. The right to vote, regardless of the choice on the ballot, should be something encouraged. Her clear lack of regard for all residents of the state of Mississippi is not indicative of our precepts or beliefs.
We encourage all Mississippians, University of Mississippi students, and Black Student Union members to be active members of the community. So many have fought and continue to fight to ensure that all voices are heard. On November 27, we hope all utilize this right and vote for change.

The University of Mississippi Black Student Union Executive Board

-Joint Statement with the Associated Student Body regarding Dr. Ed Meek (and the School of Journalism)

September 20, 2018

As student leaders at the University of Mississippi we recognize that, along with university administration, together we are responsible for making sure that Ed Meek’s comments are being addressed and solved effectively. The Associated Student Body and the UM Black Student Union are working together to ensure that all student concerns are heard. Moving forward, we are working to establish a foundation of collaboration and trust between both organizations and the university administration.

The comments made by University of Mississippi alumnus Ed Meek are reprehensible and hurtful to all members of our community, especially African-American women. The journalism school, named in his honor, and Chancellor Vitter have publicly condemned the racist and sexist statements Meek has made. Despite this, we as a university community still have many internal doors that need to be further opened to achieve our ideal of a fully inclusive and welcoming university.

On Thursday, September 20, 2018, the University Senior Leadership Group hosted a listening session to provide an opportunity for discussion among students and to receive feedback about possible solutions. Our work is not complete. As students at the University of Mississippi, we are called to uphold the values and standards of the UM Creed. We ask that the creed be upheld by University leadership as we move forward. As student body representatives, we are demanding the following:

  1. That the Senior Leadership release a timeline of immediate next steps to the entire student body by Tuesday, September 25, 2018, addressing Ed Meek’s racist and sexist comments.
  2. Students are directly impacted by the comments made by the UM alumnus. We demand that student representation be present in key meetings and conversations held in regard to this matter.
  3. The University leadership needs to be transparent during this process. We demand that Senior Leadership gives weekly reports to the student body throughout the entirety of this process.

We will not rest until the proper steps have been taken to resolve this issue. We look forward to further correspondence from Senior Leadership to collaboratively solve this issue. We urge others to step up to the important work ahead of us.

The University of Mississippi Black Student Union and the Associated Student Body

-Statement on Dr. Ed Meek, September 19, 2018

The Black Student Union condemns the comments made by Ed Meek on Wednesday, September 19, 2018. In a Facebook post this afternoon Meek commented on the scene of Oxford Square on Saturday, September 15th after the Alabama vs Ole Miss football game hosted in Oxford, Ms. In his post, he mentions the lack of police presence and that a “3 percent decline in enrollment is nothing compared to what we will see if this continues…and real estate values will plummet as will tax revenue.” He accompanied this photo with two photos of African-American women without their knowledge or consent of the photos. This juxtaposition asserts that the decline in enrollment and real-estate value is a result of the increased presence of African-American women as such. His statement has clear racial undertones that must be addressed.

In a post on Facebook, Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter stated that he wants to “ensure a safe, family-friendly environment at the university and in Oxford, [he] must condemn the tone and content of Ed Meek’s post from earlier today. The photos in his post suggest an unjustified racial overtone that is highly offensive.”

The University of Mississippi has a building named after Ed Meek: The Meek School of Journalism and New Media. Several minority students are a part of this program and enter Farley Hall daily. The comments made by the namesake of the journalism program are not only sexist but also racially discriminatory. These comments perpetuate the racist stigma that this university often carries and affects the retention and recruitment of African American students as well as underrepresented populations to this campus.

The Black Student Union demands that Chancellor Vitter release a public statement sent to the student body condemning the racist comments made by Ed Meek.

The Black Student Union demands that the Meek School of Journalism and New Media release a public statement sent to the student body condemning the comments made by its namesake.

We are standing in solidarity with minority students, women, and all persons unfairly targeted by these prejudiced comments.

The University of Mississippi Black Student Union