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NBC News Report Focuses on Race at Ole Miss

The Confederate Memorial Statue on the Ole Miss campus is one of the Confederate symbols discussed in an NBC News report about racial tensions at the school. Photo by Brantley Meaders.

Race and Confederate symbols are the focus of an NBC News multimedia piece about Ole Miss released today.
Ole Miss alumnus Phil McCausland, now an NBC reporter, returned to the campus for the special video report, titled “Old Battles in a New South.” An accompanying article, “The Confederacy still haunts the campus of Ole Miss,” goes into greater detail, revisiting racially charged episodes in the university’s recent history, including the incident in which two students tied a noose around the James Meredith statue and ongoing efforts to revive the Colonel Reb mascot.
The video spotlights two Ole Miss students with differing viewpoints: Makala McNeil, a senior sociology major, African-American, and member of the Student Senate, and white conservative Coco McDonald, who authored a Student Senate bill intended to suspend a university committee that adds context to Confederate symbols around campus.
Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter was also interviewed for the video.
The article features additional interviews with professors, students and alumni with varying points of view. Among them: Wess Helton, a junior international studies major and student president of the Colonel Reb Foundation; Ariel Cobbert, an African-American student majoring in journalism who said her parents feared for her safety when she decided to attend Ole Miss; Dr. James Thomas, a sociology professor and faculty adviser to the student chapter of the NAACP; and Republican political consultant Howie Morgan, founder of the Colonel Reb Foundation.
The article highlights “the contentious balancing act that Ole Miss has pursued since the university integrated in 1962, which led to riots, tear gas, thrown bricks and two murders. The school wants to appeal to a new, diverse student base without disenfranchising its conservative students or infuriating the wealthy political groups and alumni that are pressuring the university to uphold its white heritage.”

Rick Hynum is editor-in-chief of HottyToddy.com. Email him at rick.hynum@hottytoddy.com.

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