Alumni from colleges around the country have their own little ways of remembering their university in a way that’s unique from other schools.
From ‘Cuse (Syracuse University) to Mizzou (University of Missouri), university students and graduates can refer to their alma mater in a way which connotes affection.
And that’s just what University of Mississippi students and alumni thought they were doing when they referred to their school as “Ole Miss.” But not so, according to a “very small percentage” of those with ties to the school – because they say the nickname associates the school with “negative race issues.”
UM Chancellor Dan Jones has released a report which details a plan the university is pursuing to better promote diversity and inclusion at the school.
Most aspects of the plan are positive ways to make all students feel comfortable, including the renaming of “Confederate Drive” to “Chapel Row,” and opening a Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement.
However, as reported by Ryan Lovelace at National Review, the college is also planning to reevaluate the use of the nickname “Ole Miss.”
UM’s longstanding nickname is beloved by the vast majority of its students and alumni. But a few, especially some university faculty, are uncomfortable with it. Some don’t want it used at all and some simply don’t want it used with the academic context.
The university completed a national study about the name “Ole Miss” during the last year and found the vast majority of respondents don’t attach any meaning to it other than an affectionate name for the university.
In fact, a significant margin likes and prefers the “Ole Miss” name. And a very small percentage of respondents associate the university, either as “Ole Miss” or “University of Mississippi,” with negative race issues.
Administrators say that the name “Ole Miss” will persist for athletic purposes, with an underlying connotation that they will refer to the school with its full name for all other purposes.
But the respondents who associate the name with race issues apparently associate the name “University of Mississippi” the same way. It seems they have a negative opinion about the school, regardless of its moniker.
It’s a generally accepted fact that a small group of people are always going to be upset about something at any given time. Abe Lincoln said it best when he said, “You can’t please all of the people all of the time.”
But because one “very small” group cries racism shouldn’t force an academic institution to change the way it’s operated since it was established. People are clearly upset with the university – not the nickname – and it seems they will remain upset regardless of whether that nickname is changed.