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Anti-Obama Protest at Ole Miss Opens Old Scars

By Sandra Knispel | Published 08 Nov 2012 09:45am | comments
Roughly 700 people attended a candlelight walk on campus last night, citing the university creed, to protest the racist incident of Tuesday night. Photo Cristen Hemmins

The administration at the University of Mississippi is embarrassed, many students are shocked, and old scars are reopened. As MPB’s Sandra Knispel reports, a midnight protest against the re-election of President Obama got out of hand Tuesday night, pitting a group of black against white students.

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The midnight crowd grew quickly to about 400 students after rumors of a riot spread across campus.

“Basically just a group of people, whites versus blacks standing on one side of the street and the other on the other side of the street and just yelling racial slurs back and forth at eachother and throwing rocks and things.” Reporter: “What did the black side yell at the white side?” Jansen: “They were just yelling that they had won and boasting and bragging and the Whites were yelling ‘The South will rise again!’ “

Jansen, who does not want his last name used, is a white freshman. He was right there.

“The n-word was used also. Every word in the book probably was used.” Reporter: “And the n-word was used to describe President Obama or to describe the students opposite?” Jansen: “I think it was the students opposite. They were the ones that started boasting and bragging and then everyone just came together and was just arguing back and forth.”

Destiny Haynes, a black freshman biology mayor, says she saw the beginning of the trouble at a male student hall of residence.

“Burning signs. A lot of things were going on at Stockard.” Reporter: “Inside or outside?” "Outside. [They were burning] Obama-Biden [signs]. You know the blue signs they have out.” Reporter: “So, was it a group of white students burning the signs?” Haynes: “Yes, I’d say 12, 13 guys.”

Yesterday morning, the campus was calm again – it appeared to be business as usual. But maybe not quite yet. Again Destiny Haynes.

“I was shocked because daily on campus I feel, you know, comfortable, welcome. I do not experience that on campus daily and to see that last night was – it was shocking.”

The university is careful not to call the incident a riot, saying nobody was injured and no property destroyed. Nevertheless Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones did not mince words:

“It was an ugly incident, there were racial slurs used and the University leadership wants to condemn that kind of behavior in the strongest possible terms.”

Two students were arrested and an official investigation of the incident continues. Last night, roughly 700 people participated in a candlelight vigil on campus, protesting the events of the previous night. The vigil was organized by One Mississippi, a student-led organization on campus.

Sandra Knispel, MPB News, Oxford.

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Roughly 700 people attended a candlelight walk on campus last night, citing the university creed, to protest the racist incident of Tuesday night. Photo Cristen Hemmins


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