A small group of students and faculty recently voiced their displeasure with the University of Mississippi’s well-known nickname, “Ole Miss.” They feel that the name has a negative connotation.
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.
“Ole Miss” is so engrained into the university that email addresses are [student]@olemiss.edu and not [student]@umiss.edu.
It’s important to note that those who associate the nickname with the school’s checkered history also associate the actual name of the school, the University of Mississippi, the same way.
So what–the university is supposed to just rename itself because of its complicated past?
Look, I’m all for taking steps to change things that are downright racist or cause universal discomfort, but I just don’t get this. The university is taking other steps that make much more sense, like renaming “Confederate Drive” to “Chapel Row.” The school is also opening a Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement. Those are great moves, but losing the nickname “Ole Miss?” Seems unnecessary.
I remember when Mississippi’s biggest problem was finding a new mascot.
Now that was a hot-button issue.
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