racist

Was it all just one big misunderstanding?

In an interview with The College Fix, University of Mississippi’s chief communications officer Tom Eppes strongly denied the campus will eliminate or diminish its widely used and beloved “Ole Miss” nickname due to its historic ties to slavery.

The recent idea that “Ole Miss” would be axed or used less frequently because some people are uncomfortable with it had been met with a huge backlash, prompting national headlines, a petition that called for Chancellor Dan Jones’ resignation signed by about 3,000 people, and a protest march against the changes.

But the notion – prompted by a recent report by Chancellor Jones that called on “developing a plan to provide guidance on best uses of the terms ‘The University of Mississippi’ and ‘Ole Miss’ ” – was misunderstood, Eppes said.

In the report, Jones said the plan should follow “traditional convention” that uses “Ole Miss” in athletics and school spirit references, and “University of Mississippi” in reference to academics. Eppes said that’s actually been standard operating procedure for years. But some interpreted that as a policy change.

“As has been the case all along, we will use ‘University of Mississippi,’ the formal name of the university, in first reference in news releases and when referencing academic research or communicating on behalf of academic schools or departments,” he said.

“Ole Miss” was originally used by slaves when referring to a plantation owner’s wife, and that “Ole Miss” officially became the nickname of the university following a yearbook contest in the late 1800s, The Associated Press reports.olemiss.ken-lund.flickr

Today, most people don’t think about slavery or racism when the moniker “Ole Miss” is used, Eppes said, adding the campus will not scrap the venerable nickname, nor change their “OleMiss.edu” email address and website URL, because of a few concerns.

“Neither the website URL nor the email address are changing, despite media reports to the contrary,” he said.

“National research clearly demonstrated that the name carries none of the antebellum meaning that concerned some faculty,” Eppes added. “In fact, it’s regarded very positively nationwide.”

The report by Chancellor Jones, published Aug. 1, states that campus evaluations found “the vast majority of current students of all races embraces the name and does not attach any meaning to it other than an affectionate name for the university.”

What’s more, researchers found that a significant margin likes and prefers the “Ole Miss” name over the full University of Mississippi title.

“The affectionate term ‘Ole Miss’ is and will continue to be an important part of our national identity,” Jones had stated.

Eppes said “confusion” was also prompted in part by concerns stemming from a University of Mississippi history professor, who told The New York Times earlier this year about his frustration with the name.

“If you bill yourself as Ole Miss and you call yourself the Rebels and the first thing a visitor to the campus sees is a Confederate monument, whether intentionally or not, it conveys an image,” history professor Charles Eagles told the newspaper.

“If I could do one thing,” Eagles continued, “the place would never be called Ole Miss again.”

Those quotes were then connected more recently with Jones’ report, which detailed an “action plan” on how the campus will distance itself from its controversial Confederate past.

In fact, some changes are in the offing.

Campus officials will rename a street on campus from “Confederate Drive” to “Chapel Lane.” The University of Mississippi will also hire a “vice chancellor for diversity.”

“It is my hope that the steps outlined here … will prove valuable in making us a stronger and healthier university,” Jones said in his report, “bringing us closer to our goal of being a warm and welcoming place for every person every day, regardless of race, religious preference, country of origin, ability, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or gender expression.”

But the confusion over the fate of “Ole Miss” prompted fierce debate on both sides.

Student Emma Jennings penned an open letter to Chancellor Jones in which she addressed those who may want to change the university’s email domain, currently @olemiss.edu, saying the impact on racial diversity will be negligible.

“Does changing our email address URL from ‘olemiss.edu’ to ‘umiss.edu’ promote diversity?” she asked in her letter. “Or does it suggest that we are a school that is ashamed of itself and ashamed of its past?”

She also slammed the idea of hiring a vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion.

“By creating [this position] … you are suggesting to the rest of the world that Ole Miss is inherently a racist school, and her students are incapable of change on their own,” she wrote.

Jennings also fired back at Jones’s report, saying it “could use some more research, investigation, and a broader base of opinion quotes to be truly on the right track to a diverse university.”

The student government also recently came out in support of keeping Ole Miss around.

“The Associated Student Body is glad to read that the chancellor’s report underlines the importance of retaining the term Ole Miss as our university’s nickname,” it stated. “Representing our student body, we agree that the overwhelming majority of students of all races see the term affectionately and would be upset with its removal. We believe that the goodwill that the university gains through retaining the beloved nickname is irreplaceable and its removal would be a great detriment to our university.”

In contrast, senior Sierra Mannie penned an op-ed in Time in which she claimed the university “has spent too long marinating in such an idyll, willfully and disappointingly ignorant of the antebellum period and its shame.”

Mannie stated she even “teared up” after reading Jones’ report, praising his leadership on the issue. But she admits she still uses “Ole Miss” when not speaking about academics. “It’s much shorter,” she wrote.

The Ole Miss Alumni Association did not return a request for comment by The College Fix on this issue.

College Fix reporter Andrew Desiderio is a student at The George Washington University.

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INSIDE IMAGE: Ken Lund/Flickr

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No indication fraternity will kowtow to pressure after student government, Asian Pacific student group demands it stop using the venerable ‘FIJI’ moniker

The 166-year-old Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, which for more than a century has used FIJI as its nickname, is apparently not backing down from the moniker, even after some students called the frat racist for using it.

Numerous requests for comment by The College Fix to the national chapter of the organization to speak on the allegations went unreturned, but its website still prominently displays the FIJI brand in photos and wording.

Likewise, the Phi Gamma Delta website for UC Irvine, where the controversy unfolded, maintains pictures and wording to indicate its members will also not kowtow to the pressure. In addition, the UC Irvine chapter’s Facebook page still has the words “FIJI” in the title.

While recent history shows that often campus student and Greek groups are quick to apologize when accused of offending other cultures, it appears this fraternity is not willing to buckle under such pressure.

The controversy stems from a fundraiser in May called the “FIJI Islander Party” at which the UC Irvine Phi Gamma Delta fraternity members and guests wore Island-inspired garb such as grass skirts and coconut bras.FIJIFACTS

But student government leaders and the Asian Pacific Student Association not only condemned the fundraiser as offensive and insulting to the Fijian culture – but took it one step further, denouncing the fraternity’s venerable nickname as racially insensitive.

“It is too often that fraternities and sororities choose racist themes for their parties and events,” the Asian Pacific Student Association stated in condemning the fraternity. “APSA at UCI will not tolerate, be silent, nor be complicit in acts of cultural appropriation that hurt marginalized People of Color communities because they maintain and fortify white male hegemonic structures.”

The association, in its statement, demanded that the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity strip the name “Fiji Islander” from their philanthropy event, cease the use of coconut trees and other “stereotypical displays,” and even end the use of “FIJI” as their fraternity’s nickname – a name that has been used since 1894.

They asked for a public apology from Phi Gamma Delta – one that demonstrates “that they acknowledge the racist nature of both their appropriation of the ‘Fiji’ name and their conduct at the ‘Fiji Islander’ party.”

In late May, the student government voted 14-0 to condemn that FIJI fundraiser, form an ad hoc committee to explore the accusations against the Delta fraternity and, in meeting with university officials, determine a proper punishment for the fraternity, The Daily Pilot reported.

On UC Irvine’s Associated Students website, a meeting agenda from May 27 acknowledges that the ad hoc committee was created, and even goes as far as deciding that “silence or action” among the accused fraternity and other Greek organizations on campus “would reinforce the racism against, dismissal of, and silencing of Fijian and Pacific islander student voices.”

However, the student government has no authority to force the fraternity to make such changes. UC Irvine student government leaders, nor UC Irvine campus officials, have responded to requests for comment this month by The College Fix to discuss the subcommittee’s outcome.

Meanwhile, the fraternity stands proud.

As recently as late June, the “FIJI Islander Week” is still touted on the fraternity’s website as such, as they describe it as “a competition between sororities and their FIJI coaches as they battle it out in crazy games to raise money for Red Cross.”

They also note that last year this event raised over $5,000 for Japan tsunami relief.

In addition, the corresponding social event, known as “FIJI Islander,” is also still advertised on their website as a “nationally recognized classy social event.”

What’s more, the UC Irvine chapter is actually “ethnically comprised more by members whose lineage hails from South and East Asia than those whose bloodlines originating in the cool climes of Northern Europe,” writes Timothy Whiteman in the Examiner. Whiteman is described in his tagline as being of Pacific Islander heritage, a “descendant of the Chamorro people of the Micronesian Marianas Islands.”

Members of European heritage are actually in the minority, Whiteman notes, saying it is “not quite the bastion of Caucasian domination as depicted.”

“Someone really needs to get lei’d,” quipped Whiteman in his piece.

Still, administrators pounced on the controversy.

“The administration and student affairs is using it as an opportunity to show to fraternities what cultural appreciation is and how they might be more sensitive, to be able to have their week of philanthropy that ends in a social event without offending others,” Cathy Lawhon, a UC Irvine spokesperson, told Campus Reform.

Lawhon had added the fraternity would not be punished because the fundraiser was not a conduct violation.

College Fix contributor Andrew Desiderio is a student at The George Washington University.

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IMAGES: Main, Facebook screenshot; Inside – FIJI website

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It’s fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A. At least, it used to be.

When one Fargo, N.D., mother complained that a planned first-grade talent show act showcasing the famed song was offensive and racist, administrators yanked the schoolchildren’s skit from the line-up, the Fargo-Moorhead Inforum reports.

The students were supposed to be performing the song “Y.M.C.A.” during Bennett Elementary School’s May talent show.

For the show, a first-grade teacher asked parents to have their kids wear clothes like the Village People, the group that recorded the hit song in the 1970s. Some would come dressed as a policeman, a cowboy, a biker dude, a construction worker or a Native American.

But one mom … said asking her daughter and her classmates to dress up like an Indian is offensive.

WDAY reports the upset mother is Native American, and also complained to officials that the song promotes racial prejudice.

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OPINION

Every year across the nation, several Pi Beta Phi sorority chapters host all-you-can-eat “Pi Phiesta” taco bar fundraisers at their respective campuses to raise money for charity.

But that longstanding tradition, typically held around Cinco de Mayo, is in jeopardy.

In the past few weeks, pressure from a handful of Latino students at two high-profile universities who complained the events are offensive prompted dramatic changes to two “Pi Phiesta” fundraisers.

At Dartmouth College, the fundraiser was cancelled outright, and at Stanford University, the sorority girls scrapped their Mexican themed “Pi Phiesta” for a summery, ocean-themed one, although they still served tacos. tacobarslider2

The Dartmouth situation created national headlines, while the quick switcheroo at Stanford took place much more quietly.

Nevertheless, the future of “Pi Phiesta” fundraisers across the nation hang in the balance as the charitable tradition faces increased scrutiny from the politically correct campus police.

C’mon – how long before the directive comes down from the Pi Beta Phi national headquarters with an “ixnay on the iestaphey.” They don’t want or need the bad press or flack on campuses, and will probably figure: Why bother?

(Editor’s note: A Pi Beta Phi spokeswoman contacted The College Fix on Monday morning to clarify the Dartmouth Pi Phiesta was not affiliated with their group, it doesn’t have a chapter there, and also said “while a couple of Pi Beta Phi chapters have held Pi Phiesta fundraisers, that theme is not recommended and only a few of our 136 chapters host one.” So I guess the smackdown on the theme has already taken place.)

The real losers, however, are the nonprofit efforts these events help support; all-you-can-eat taco bars get lots of warm bodies through the doors.

These particular sorority charity events are hardly offensive, and if anything – they celebrate and honor Mexican heritage.

A YouTube video of a “Pi Phiesta” taco night last year shows a bunch of students stuffing their faces with tacos, smiling, and raising a wad of cash for literacy causes.

In the pictures on various Pi Beta Phi websites, one might see an occasional sombrero-donned student or some maracas among the bright yellow-orange decorations and neon-colored T-Shirts; hardly offensive.

The fact that this is for charity and done without malicious intent is apparently of no consequence to the handful of aggrieved militant Latino students on campuses with a machete to grind.

They accuse such events of “cultural appropriation” – defined by the Stanford Daily as “actions that trivialize aspects of a culture by not respecting a custom’s symbolic significance or the history of a style of dress or other artifact.”

If that’s the case, maybe piñatas should be outlawed across America – because who cares about the glee those little twerps experience when they have candy rain down on them like Niagara Falls? They’re appropriating Mexican culture for their own joy, and for shame.tacobar1

In the same vein, that 21-year-old female student who throws on a sombrero and serves up tacos to raise money to help an inner-city child learn how to read should be told what an insensitive twit she is.

PUT THE TACO DOWN, NOW!

Oh, the plight of the Latino college student. They face so much bigotry.

Give me a break.

This whole white-people-who-celebrate-Cinco-de-Mayo-are-a-bunch-of-ignorant-and-offensive-buffoons movement is absolutely ridiculous and completely out of control.

During this most recent Cinco de Mayo observance, not only did these “Pi Phiestas” get derailed, but:

A sign at UCLA this month offered students a guide to a “racist-free Cinco de Mayo,” advice that included warning students not to speak their shoddy high school Spanish on the day.

At North Carolina State University, its dining services officials had to apologize for handing out “offensive” chocolate mustaches for dessert on Cinco de Mayo.

A similar kerfuffle also occurred at the University of Maryland after two Latino students were offended when the university’s dining services staff voluntarily wore fake mustaches and sombreros during its Cinco de Mayo dinner.

And circling back to Stanford, more sombrero-wearing dining staff raised angst.

It’s just the latest in an established trend on campuses.

The irony of this whole situation is – Latino students should be careful for what they wish for, because they just might get it.

Imagine May 5 on campus with no tacos, no sombreros, no mention of anything Mexican at all. Head into the cafeteria and be greeted with spaghetti and meatballs and Foo Fighters playing on the stereo.

They’re whitewashing their own observance.

Jennifer Kabbany is associate editor of The College Fix ( @JenniferKabbany )

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IMAGES: Internet screenshots

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An intrepid young reporter at Dartmouth College has come across another blatant microaggression against the Ivy League institution’s oppressed and marginalized Latino student population – Fiesta Corn!

Yes, within days of one lone complaint over a Mexican-themed student “Phiesta” fundraiser to benefit cardiac research at Dartmouth College recently prompted administrators to freak out and cancel the event, the school’s kitchen staff had the audacity to insult Latino students once again with its offering of a corn dish called – gasp – “Fiesta Corn.”

The Dartmouth Review’s staff editor Paul Danyow quickly grabbed his cellphone and chronicled the bias incident, complete with a picture of that insulting corn dish, laced with red bell peppers and other demeaning flavor profiles.

“The Horror!” bemoaned a comment on the story. “Bias incidents like this should be reported to OPAL. We must stand together to fight such blatant racism. We shall overcome the violence/racism inherent in the system.”

Thankfully, the more enlightened at Dartmouth are already on top of things, as they recently penned an 8-page protest letter calling for reparations for what they claim is the school’s oppressive and racist atmosphere. Among their list of demands, they called for mandatory cultural competency and sensitivity training for professors. Clearly, the kitchen staff needs to be included in that list.

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IMAGE: Wombzilla/flickr

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A professor at Columbia University says that opposing the minimum wage hike is racist.

Dorian Warren, whose faculty profile page says he specializes in “the study of inequality and American politics” – and teaches on “community organizing” – made the comments on television recently.

Via Newsbusters:

“There’s a distinction we should make between racist words and speech, and racist practices and policies. We should be focused on the policies and the racial impact of policies that those Republican leaders frankly stand for,” Warren said on Tuesday’s The Last Word.

… Warren accused Republicans of racist policies, including Wisconsin’s voter ID law which was just struck down by the federal judge.

“We could go down the list,” he continued. “The minimum wage, the Congress is going to be voting on, disproportionately affects workers of color. Republicans are against that. The fact that 24 states have refused to expand Medicaid, disproportionately affects people of color, that’s a life and issue for people. It affects millions of people.”

Instead of addressing the economics of the situation, all the Left does is race bait. And let’s be clear – Warren is shaping and influencing the minds of the next generation.

This isn’t just about what some professor said – this is about the way in which liberal policies are presented as academic fact on television and to impressionable and driven students who vote and are tomorrow’s leaders.

The battleground is on the campus.

Read more.

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