Ole Miss opens conduct investigation after counterprotesters taunted Black woman

The University of Mississippi opened a conduct investigation Saturday into at least one student after a video went viral showing a group of students harassing a pro-Palestine protester on the campus last week.

Chancellor Glenn Boyce said the counterprotesters’ chants and actions Thursday contained “hostility and racist overtones.” Video showed a group of white men standing across from a lone Black woman participating in the protest, with the men dancing, hooting and chanting. One man mimicked a monkey.

“From yesterday’s demonstration, university leaders are aware that some statements made were offensive, hurtful and unacceptable, including actions that conveyed hostility and racist overtones,” Boyce wrote.

“To be clear, people who say horrible things to people because of who they are will not find shelter or comfort on this campus,” he added.

The pro-Palestine protesters at Ole Miss were significantly outnumbered by counterprotesters, as the campus demonstrations spread to hundreds of colleges across the country in recent weeks.

Rep. Mike Collins (R-Ga.) shared the video of the harassment last week, saying it showed “Ole Miss taking care of business.”

The NAACP filed a complaint with congressional leaders Saturday over Collins’ conduct, demanding an Ethics Committee investigation.

“These actions conducted by a member of the House of Representatives, regardless of intent, legitimize and propagate racism and undermine the principles of equality and justice that our government is sworn to uphold,” the letter reads.

“Black America refuses to accept blatant racism from any representative sworn to uphold our constitution,” NAACP spokesperson Alicia Mercedes added in a statement to The Hill. “Representative Collins’ decision to publicly condone, and perhaps even celebrate these racist taunts is not only shameful, but also reprehensible.”

The confrontation adds to the school’s long history of racial conflict. Deadly riots broke out when Ole Miss first enrolled a Black student in 1962, and the university has long been associated with Confederate imagery. The school’s nickname is also derived from a racist term associated with slavery.

Updated at 6:05 pm.

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