Statements

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Update on the Process on School of Journalism Name Change
October 9, 2018

The proposal to change the name of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media has cleared all administrative steps required on our campus to change the name of an academic program. The faculty in the school voted to approve a request made by Dr. Ed Meek to remove his name from the school. The proposal was subsequently approved by the Undergraduate Council, the Graduate Council, and the Council of Academic Administrators. Shortly thereafter, I submitted the proposal to the IHL Board for expedited consideration at its October meeting.

Jeffrey S. Vitter

Chancellor

UPDATES:

Read the statement from Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter outlining the process to consider a name change on Tuesday, Sept. 25.

Read a response to a statement issued by Ed Meek on Saturday, Sept. 22.

Click here to read a letter sent to the UM community from Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter on Friday, Sept. 21.

Read the message sent from UM leadership about posts made by a UM donor on Thursday, Sept. 20.



University Expedites Process to Consider Name Change
September 25, 2018

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

UPDATES:

Click to read the most recent update on the process on School of Journalism name change on Tuesday, Oct. 9.

Read the message sent from UM leadership about posts made by a UM donor on Thursday, Sept. 20.

Click here to read a letter sent to the UM community from Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter on Friday, Sept. 21.

Read a response to a statement issued by Ed Meek on Saturday, Sept. 22.



Response to Statement Issued by Ed Meek on Saturday, Sept. 22
September 22, 2018

The following is a statement from Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter in response to a statement issued Saturday, September 22 by Dr. Ed Meek:

“For more than 50 years, Ed Meek has played a critical role in moving our university forward. While his request tonight to remove his name from the Meek School of Journalism and New Media was made selflessly to permit the university to move forward, it is nonetheless regrettable and poignant. A primary hallmark of leadership is the willingness to sacrifice personal gain for the betterment of the whole. We commend the Meek family for their heartfelt response to the concerns of the UM community. We also acknowledge with appreciation and thanks their ongoing and permanent contributions to the university, which will be recognized by the Meek family’s legacy commitment to all things Ole Miss.”

UPDATES:

Click to read the most recent update on the process on School of Journalism name change on Tuesday, Oct. 9.

Read the statement from Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter outlining the process to consider a name change on Tuesday, Sept. 25.

Click here to read a letter sent to the UM community from Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter on Friday, Sept. 21.

Read the message sent from UM leadership about posts made by a UM donor on Thursday, Sept. 20.





Message from Leadership About Posts Made by UM Donor
September 20, 2018

To the UM Community:

We are writing about a disturbing incident and the path forward. On Wednesday, the namesake of our journalism school, Ed Meek, posted a comment on Facebook that we condemned as having highly offensive racial overtones.

This social media post was deeply hurtful because of the sentiment conveyed about the presence of African-Americans in Oxford and at Ole Miss. We are outraged that photographs of two of our female African-American students were used to make this point. University leaders have been in contact with the students to give them support and assistance.

The University’s Senior Leadership Group met in emergency session about this incident and its impact on our community. We have important decisions to make, and they will be made in a thoughtful and intentional manner.

As part of this process, we are hosting a listening session for the UM community this evening at 7:30 p.m. at Nutt Auditorium. It is important to come together as a community. We support all members of our community and respect the dignity of each person.

Jeffrey S. Vitter
Chancellor

Noel Wilkin
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Will Norton
Dean, School of Journalism

UPDATES:

Click to read the most recent update on the process on School of Journalism name change on Tuesday, Oct. 9.

Read the statement from Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter outlining the process to consider a name change on Tuesday, Sept. 25.

Read a response to a statement issued by Ed Meek on Saturday, Sept. 22.

Click here to read a letter sent to the UM community from Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter on Friday, Sept. 21.



Statement From Chancellor Vitter On Sports Betting Law
August 31, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

As we begin a new academic year and with the start of a new football season just days away, I am looking forward to another great year for our student-athletes, as they engage in the highest level of NCAA competition and continue to excel in the classroom. I’d like to take this opportunity to talk with you briefly about an important change in the law and the possible ramifications for intercollegiate athletics.

Last spring, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to allow each state to enact its own laws around legalized sports betting. Since then, our Athletics Department has conferred with the NCAA and worked with staff, coaches, student-athletes, student families, and those who support our athletics programs to ensure that everyone understands the implications of the Supreme Court’s ruling for NCAA member institutions like ours. Our highest priority is to safeguard the well-being of our student-athletes.

While betting on collegiate sports is now legal in Mississippi, the NCAA’s position on the issue has not changed. The NCAA strictly prohibits sports betting by student-athletes, staff members of an athletics department, and non-athletics department employees who have responsibilities within or over athletics. In this spirit, we also want our larger university and sports community to recognize that sports betting by those close to student-athletes and athletics programs, including faculty and staff, can put the university or athletes at risk of violating NCAA rules.

As a NCAA member institution, the University of Mississippi keeps student-athlete health and safety, compliance, and integrity at the forefront. Thank you for standing with us. Your continued support helps all of our student-athletes compete at the highest levels of intercollegiate athletics.

Should you have related questions, please contact Erica McKinley, Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel, at mckinley@olemiss.edu or 662-915-7014.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey S. Vitter

Chancellor and Distinguished Professor



Proposed Legislation’s Impact Upon Our Campus
February 7, 2018

Two years ago, the Institutions of Higher Learning implemented a comprehensive policy to keep our campuses safe. This policy allows for universities to prohibit guns in specific non-public campus areas. Earlier today, the Mississippi House of Representatives approved House Bill 1083, which, if passed by the Senate and signed into law, would override the IHL policy and our University’s specific policies. It would put our campus community, law enforcement, and first responders at great risk by allowing weapons in sensitive places such as classrooms, hospitals, clinics, and athletic and performance venues.