The namesake of the Ole Miss journalism school has been called out for racist overtone in a Facebook post about dozens of arrests following a football game.
Ed Meek, namesake for the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media, posted a photo of two black women wearing skimpy dresses to complain about rowdiness after Saturday’s game that resulted in 40 arrests, reported The Daily Mississippian.
“I hesitated until now to publish these pictures but I think it important that our community see what the camera is seeing at 2 a.m. after a ballgame,” Meek posted Wednesday on his Facebook account. “I hear there were 180 police working the weekend but of all the pictures late night, the fights and scenes, I have seen no police presence. Chief of Police Joey East is quoted in the Mississippian as saying police made 40 arrest [sic] and that there were fights in most venues.”
“Enough, Oxford and Ole Miss leaders, get on top of this before it is too late,” Meek continued. “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. We all share in the responsibility to protect the values we hold dear that have made Oxford and Ole Miss known nationally.”
The university’s longtime assistant vice chancellor for public relations and marketing later deleted the post, after widespread condemnation by students and Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter.
“While we all want to ensure a safe, family-friendly environment at the University and in Oxford, I must condemn the tone and content of Ed Meek’s post from earlier today,” Vitter said. “The photos in his post suggest an unjustified racial overtone that is highly offensive. Ed, I urge you to withdraw your comment and apologize to anyone offended.”
Students wondered why Meek had singled out two black women for their attire.
“I’m confused… on Ole Miss game days, every other white female is dressed like this – especially if they are going out afterwards,” said student Twanna Gordon Phillips. “So by you posting these two black girls and the assumption you are making, (it) only makes you sound racist.”
Police said all the arrests were for public intoxication, although five were also charged with simple assault.
“Everybody had issues (Saturday) night. Every club, I think, had fights in it — it wasn’t just one area,” said police chief Joey East.
OPD made 40 arrests for public intoxication throughout the weekend, five of which were accompanied by simple assault charges.
The journalism school’s administrators called the post “highly offensive,” and said Meek’s comments did not represent their values or views.
An online petition was launched seeking to remove Meek’s name from the journalism school, and the former administrator apologized for his comments.
“I apologize to those offended by my post,” Meek said. “My intent was to point out we have a problem in The Grove and on the Oxford Square.”