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UM Chancellor Says Officials “Accelerating Process” to Consider Meek Name Change

UM Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter released a statement to the campus community Tuesday, Sept. 25 that said university officials are expediting the process of considering the removal of donor Ed Meek’s name from the School of Journalism and New Media.

The Meek School of Journalism and New Media. Photo by Anna Grace Usery.

The statement was made after university faculty asked Meek on Friday, Sept. 21 to request his name be removed within a three day time period. Meek responded to faculty the following day, Sept. 22, requesting that his name be removed. 

“Today I have asked the University of Mississippi to remove my name from the School of Journalism and New Media,” Meek wrote in the email sent Sept. 22. “My desire then and now is for the School of Journalism to be a global leader in Journalism education. I recognize that the attachment of my name to the School of Journalism is no longer in the best interest of that vision.”

The journalism faculty accepted his response Monday, Sept. 24 saying, “We agree with and accept Dr. Ed Meek’s request that his name be removed from the school, as it is in the best interest of our students, school and the university.”

Undergraduate and Graduate Councils are meeting currently to discuss the name change, according to Vitter’s statement.

Vitter’s statement reads as follows: 

Based on the request made on Saturday, September 22 by Dr. Ed Meek to remove his name from the University of Mississippi’s School of Journalism and New Media, University officials are accelerating our standard process for considering a change to the name of an academic program.

On Monday, the faculty of the School of Journalism and New Media voted to accept Dr. Meek’s request, and the dean of the school, Will Norton, asked for expedited consideration of this matter by the councils on campus that must review it. As a result, members of the Undergraduate and Graduate Councils are now voting by email on whether to accept the request to remove the Meek name from the school. These councils are comprised of faculty from across the entire university, and each council has one voting student representative.

If approved by both councils, the request will be considered by the Council of Academic Administrators, which is chaired by the provost. Its voting members include all deans, the Faculty Senate chair, faculty representatives, the three vice chancellors within Academic Affairs, the Associated Student Body president, and the Graduate Student Council president. If approved, the Council of Academic Administrators refers the matter to me as chancellor, and I will refer the request to the IHL Board for consideration on an expedited basis.

There have been comments from members of the public and the media recommending that the university return the naming gift. State and federal law and the terms of the original agreement governing the management of these funds prohibit the University from making such a move unilaterally. Discussions are underway with the Meek family on the most appropriate way to proceed.

We will continue to work to bring this matter to an appropriate resolution.

Jeffrey S. Vitter

Chancellor


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