University Marketing & Communications

The University of Mississippi

Updates to Campus Community

Last updated: 5:34 p.m. Feb. 23, 2019

Index

Statements from the University of Mississippi

Community Conversation

For Media

Frequently Asked Questions (Updated 2:03 pm Feb. 22, 2019)


Statements from the University of Mississippi

Feb. 23, 2019 (Delivered by UPD Chief Ray Hawkins at media briefing at 4:45 p.m.)

I want to thank our law enforcement partners – the city of Oxford and Interim Police Chief Jeff McCutchen, Lafayette County Sheriff John Hill and the Mississippi Highway Patrol. We worked to develop a plan and that plan went flawlessly.

We’ve had three protests in three days, and I think our team has done an outstanding job of making sure our campus was safe. From day one we’ve communicated to our community – our students, faculty, staff and visitors – that we were committed to keeping our campus safe and that we had a plan to do it and our plan was executed flawlessly.

Ray Hawkins

Chief, University Police Department

 

Feb. 22, 2019 (Shared with UM community via UMToday system from umpr@olemiss.edu at 9:08 am)

The university would like to share a few updates about today and tomorrow:

  • The university is open for classes today and is observing normal business hours. The University Police Department is aware of the social media activity raising concerns, and is planning accordingly.
  • A student group has confirmed plans to march on campus this afternoon at 3 p.m. Any counter-protesters will be directed by law enforcement to a designated area within the Grove.
  • The counter-protest previously scheduled for Saturday afternoon at the Jackson Avenue Center has been canceled.
  • You can access the latest information by visiting olemiss.edu/updates. In addition, make sure your phone is registered with RebAlert and the LiveSafe app, which is how the university delivers emergency information to our campus community.
  • Students in need of support can contact the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs for guidance. Residential students should reach out to housing staff and the Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement will be open if students want to drop in. Counseling resources are available on campus at the University Counseling Center and Psychological Services.
  • On Saturday afternoon between 1-5 p.m., we urge everyone to avoid the area of University Avenue and University Circle. Other areas of campus are not likely to be affected.

Safety remains our top priority. Please know that University Police are working continuously with state and local authorities in preparation for the student march today, and the march by external groups on Saturday. If you have security-related questions or information you would like to share, contact the University Police Department at 662-915-7234.

 

Feb. 21, 2019 (Shared with UM community via UMToday system from University Police Department at 10:42 pm)

The University Police Department is aware of social media activity that has heightened anxiety related to the march scheduled for Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. Related security measures have been taken, and safety remains our first priority. Students, faculty, and staff are reminded to use the LiveSafe app and continue to report any concerning behavior to UPD at 662-915-7234. We will continue to provide updates and alert you if there are any changes to university operations.

 

Feb. 21, 2019 (Shared with UM community via email from Interim Chancellor Larry Sparks and Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Noel Wilkin at 1:07 pm)

Dear students, faculty, and staff,

The university’s administration condemns racism, bigotry, and hatred. These concepts run contrary to our values, our principles, and our mission to educate. Our educational mission and our stewardship of this physical campus call us to work toward eliminating prejudice and discrimination. While some may disagree with how this should be done, we remain steadfast in our commitment to this goal.

At the same time, it is clear that not all of society has embraced this goal or the values that we teach in our university community, which makes the public areas of our campus, like others in the nation, a place where some may choose to express their ideas. The United States Constitution gives people the right to express their views, within the limits of the law, even if we find their views offensive and contrary to our pursuits.

Safety is our top priority this week, and we remain fully committed to preserving a secure campus environment. All of our policies and laws remain in effect. We have made no concessions otherwise, and we did not change our policies to accommodate any particular group.

Updates, as needed, will continue to be sent via email and posted to olemiss.edu/updates.

Friday – The external group previously scheduled to march decided not to do so. A student group has requested to march at 3 p.m. and will meet with university authorities to finalize planning. Due to the feedback received from campus constituents, there will be an increased police presence if this march takes place.

Saturday – An external group will march from the city to campus. We are advising all people to avoid University Avenue and the Circle between 1-5 p.m. on Saturday, February 23. Other areas of campus are not likely to be affected. UPD will be in touch with building mayors for the buildings along this route.

These events continue to be fluid as information is being evaluated continuously. We will keep you posted of changes that affect the UM community and schedules.

If you have an event scheduled on either of these dates, contact the Provost’s Office or send information to provost@olemiss.edu. If you have security-related questions or information you would like to share, contact the University Police Department at 662-915-7234. Updates will be posted at olemiss.edu/updates. If necessary, emergency messages will be sent using the regular channels, including the LiveSafe app, RebAlert, and posts at emergency.olemiss.edu.

Thank you to all who are doing their part to contribute to the safety of our university community.

 
Larry D. Sparks
Interim Chancellor
 
Noel E. Wilkin
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

 

Feb. 18, 2019 (Shared with UM community via UMToday system from University Police Department at 3:10 pm)

With marches planned in Oxford and on our campus later this week, I want to offer guidance on how our community can help us.

As the university communicated in a statement issued February 13, we expect external groups that have no association with the university to hold marches at or near University Circle on Friday, February 22, and Saturday, February 23. Our highest priority is to maintain a safe campus environment, and the University Police Department has worked with local and state law enforcement agencies in preparation for these events. There will be an elevated law-enforcement presence on the march route (on- and off-campus) to assist in keeping our campus and community safe.

UPD has met with organizers of the groups who are preparing for the marches in an effort to create and maintain a safe environment for all. In addition, we have shared with leaders of each group the university’s expectations concerning the time, place, and manner of their marches, and University policies addressing conduct and weapons. This includes a list of items prohibited on our campus and university policies regarding weapons.

Please note that guns are strictly prohibited on the university campus except as outlined in the Campus Weapons Policy, which requires an “enhanced” concealed carry permit and restricts possession to specific public areas of the campus. All other weapons are strictly prohibited on campus. For a complete list of prohibited items and more  information, please refer to the university’s Campus Weapons Policy.

On February 23, University Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic west of the intersection with Grove Loop and around University Circle. We urge anyone who is driving on or near campus to avoid University Avenue and the area around the Grove and University Circle.

While it is our sincere hope and strong recommendation that faculty, staff and students completely avoid the area of the events, below are some details that are important to remember:

  • These events are not UM-sponsored or -sanctioned events.
  • All laws and policies that govern the university and its campus remain in effect
  • No one should interfere with the ability of others to exercise freedom of speech or freedom of movement.

These events continue to be fluid as information is being evaluated daily. We will keep you posted of changes that affect our community as needed. If you have an event scheduled on either of these dates, contact the Provost’s Office or send information to provost@olemiss.edu. If you have security-related questions or information you would like to share, contact the University Police Department at 662-915-7234. Further details about safety, resources and support available to faculty and staff will be posted starting later this week at olemiss.edu/updates.

We hope this information will help you navigate campus over the next few days. I want to stress that we are committed to maintaining a safe environment and have consulted with local and state law enforcement agencies drawing on their expertise and resources. The best thing you can do to help keep our campus safe is to stay away from this area of campus on Saturday, February 23. Your cooperation and support allow us to perform our jobs in the best possible way. 

Best regards,

Ray Hawkins

Chief, University Police Department

 

Feb. 13, 2019 (Shared with UM community via UMToday system from umpr@olemiss.edu at 9:08 am)

External groups with no association or relation to The University of Mississippi are planning to march in Oxford and on our campus February 22 and 23. The marches are expected to conclude in the area around University Circle. 

As with any event on or around our campus, maintaining a safe environment for students, faculty, staff, and visitors is our top priority. University leaders have been engaged with appropriate authorities to ensure the safety of our community. 

These are not university-sponsored events. Our institutional commitment to free speech and the legal requirement to protect and allow expressions of free speech require us to allow these events to take place, even when expressions of free speech are offensive. At the same time, we seek to promote an atmosphere of civility and respect, values that are important to our community.

We will keep you posted on these events as additional information becomes available. If you have an event scheduled on either of these dates, contact the Provost’s Office or send information to provost@olemiss.edu. If you have security-related questions or information you would like to share, contact the University Police Department at 662-915-7234.

 


Community Conversation

The university will host a Community Conversation on Wednesday, February 20 from 3-5 p.m. in the Union Ballroom related to the marches expected in Oxford and on our campus late this week. Community Conversations provide an opportunity to share and hear unique perspectives, dialogue across difference, and discuss possible paths forward with the university community. It is an important educational moment for our university community to address challenging issues in a manner that respects freedom of expression. Further, we know these events are causing anxiety and concern among members of our university community, and we want to provide a supportive community environment to address those concerns.

Speakers for Wednesday’s conversation will include a mix of university faculty and administrators who will discuss the upcoming events, how they fit into a larger context in today’s higher education landscape, and how the university is preparing for events at the end of this week. The speakers will include:

  • Dr. Brandi Hephner LaBanc, vice chancellor for student affairs: Welcome and Context of Upcoming Events
  • Dr. Neal Hutchens, chair and professor of higher education, School of Education: Free Speech in Higher Education with Q&A
  • Ray Hawkins, university police chief, and Erica McKinley, chief legal officer and general counsel: The University’s Plan of Action with Q&A
  • Dr. Katrina Caldwell, vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement: Available Resources

All students, faculty, and staff are welcome to attend and participate.

 

Katrina Caldwell

Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Community Engagement

 

Brandi Hephner LaBanc

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs


For Media

For information about credentials and parking for media during the event, please email umpr@olemiss.edu.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is happening on campus this weekend?

During the course of this week, the university expects marches involving student groups, and a march involving external groups with no association or relation to The University of Mississippi that plans to march on Saturday, February 23. All of the marches are expected to conclude in the area around University Circle.

Friday – Students Against Social Injustice (SASI), a registered student organization, has registered a march at 3 p.m. There will be an increased police presence during this march.

Saturday – A pair of external groups not associated with the university, Confederate 901 and The Hiwaymen, will march from the city to campus. The university did not invite these groups. University leaders are advising all people to avoid University Avenue and the Circle between 1-5 p.m. on Saturday, February 23. Other areas of campus are not likely to be affected.

Why is UM allowing these marches to happen on campus?

The university’s institutional commitment to free speech and the legal requirement to protect and allow expressions of free speech require the university to allow these events to take place, even when expressions of free speech are offensive or spread hate.

How does the university reconcile the positions taken by the external groups with its own institutional values?

The university’s administration condemns racism, bigotry, and hatred. These concepts run contrary to the university’s values, principles, and mission to educate. The university’s educational mission and its stewardship of our physical campus call us to work toward eliminating prejudice and discrimination.

Map of Road Closures at the University of Mississippi for Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019.

Map of road closures at the University of Mississippi for Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019.

What can I do to stay safe this weekend?

Two things: 1) Stay away from the area of campus around the Circle and University Avenue, and 2) Monitor olemiss.edu/updates for more information.

Will any roads on campus will be closed Saturday?

University Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic west of the intersection with Grove Loop and around University Circle. University leaders are advising all people to avoid University Avenue and the Circle between 1-5 p.m. on Saturday. Other areas of campus are not likely to be affected. See image at left.

What do I do if I have an previously scheduled event on campus?

If you have an event scheduled on either of these dates, contact the Provost’s Office or send information to provost@olemiss.edu.

How will you notify campus if an emergency occurs?

Updates will be posted at olemiss.edu/updates. If necessary, emergency messages will be sent using the regular channels, including the LiveSafe app, RebAlert, and posts at emergency.olemiss.edu.

Did the university change its weapons policy recently? If so, why? Was the change made because of these events?

The University did not change its weapons policy in response to any upcoming protest, or in response to any particular group.  The University was required to update its weapons policy to ensure that it complied with state law and IHL policy.  The work on these policy revisions was initiated in September 2018. When this process began, Associated Student Body, Faculty Senate, and Staff Council leaders were consulted.

Did you impose different limits on student demonstrations than those by external groups?

No. We applied a content-neutral determination of the time, place, and manner of all demonstrations in order to maintain a safe environment for our campus community.