Mississippi May Rename J-School Due to Racist Post

September 24, 2018

Ed Meek asked University of Mississippi officials to remove his name from the journalism school on Saturday after he received backlash for a racist Facebook post, the Clarion Ledger reported.

“This past week I made a post on Facebook that reflected poorly on myself, the school and our university. It was never my intention to cast the problems our community faces as a racial issue,” Meek wrote in a statement. “I do not believe that to be the case. I heartily apologize to all I have offended. I particularly apologize to those depicted in the photographs I posted. I was wrong to post them and regret that I did so.”

The post, which has since been taken down, included photos of two black female students and warned about falling real estate values. Meek also linked the photos to the university’s 3 percent decline in enrollment and emphasized the need for greater police presence on the Oxford town square.

Students and faculty expressed their concerns, and Jeff Vitter, university chancellor, called on Meek to apologize. After Meek’s request and statement Saturday, Vitter commended him for responding to the university’s concerns. (Note: This item has been updated from an earlier version to clarify that the university has not yet decided whether to change the school's name.)

“While his request tonight to remove his name from the Meek School of Journalism and New Media was made selflessly to permit the university to move forward, it is nonetheless regrettable and poignant,” Vitter wrote in a statement. “A primary hallmark of leadership is the willingness to sacrifice personal gain for the betterment of the whole. We commend the Meek family for their heartfelt response to the concerns of the UM community.”

Removing Meek’s name will take some time. First, the Meek School faculty must approve its removal, then it must pass through the university undergraduate and graduate councils. From there, it must be approved by “a group consisting of all of the university’s deans, the Faculty Senate chair, faculty representatives, three vice chancellors, the Associated Student Body president and the Graduate Student Council president,” according to the Clarion Ledger. Finally, Vitter must ask the state College Board for permission to rename the building.

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