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Black Students Accused In Racist Graffiti Incident

Black Students Accused In Racist Graffiti Incident


Three Black students at the University of Mississippi could face expulsion for scribbling racist and obscene graffiti on dormitory doors of other Black students, officials say.

A fourth Black student also is being investigated in connection with the Nov. 6 incident at Kincannon Hall, according to the university’s communication director, Jeff Alford.

University officials refused to release names of the students, citing privacy laws. The students will face a University Judicial Council hearing when classes resume this month. If they are found guilty, their punishments could be reprimands, community service, suspension or expulsion.

The students told school officials they were playing a prank on acquaintances. But the event caused a public outcry on the campus with student groups and others calling for decisive action to identify and punish those responsible.

“It was thoughtless on their part,” says Chancellor Robert Khayat. “We don’t condone abusive behavior of any kind. They should apologize.”

The fact that the students are Black “doesn’t excuse their behavior,” Khayat says.

The students were charged with flagrant disrespect of a member of the university community, harassment/disorderly conduct, vandalism, disregard for university authority and abuse of the university judicial system. The last two charges were related to the students allegedly making false and misleading statements to investigators.

Ole Miss will not pursue criminal charges, Khayat says. The students caused $600 damage to the dorm, including cleaning costs and repair of doors.

The graffiti incident came at a time when the university was commemorating the admittance of its first Black student, James Meredith, in 1962 (see Black Issues, Oct. 24, 2002).

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