Disturbance on Ole Miss Campus After Obama Victory

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Amid last night's post-election social media storm, Facebook and Twitter buzzed with news that "riots" had broken out on the University of Mississippi campus over Barack Obama's re-election. Reports spread of hundreds of students collecting on campus, yelling racial epithets, and burning Obama/Biden signs. There were also rumors of rocks being thrown and pepper spray being used to disperse the crowd.

Ole Miss student burns an Obama/Biden lawn sign
  • Ole Miss student burns an Obama/Biden lawn sign
A grainy video was taken, showing students milling about, cop cars patrolling, students singing the Ole Miss fight song school cheer, "Hotty Toddy," and police telling a student, wrapped in an American flag and riding in the back of a pickup truck, to sit down. Another photo then emerged of a student, who identified himself on Twitter as Brandon Adams, setting an Obama lawn sign on fire.

The University of Mississippi has responded that the events were "fueled by social media, and the conversation should have stayed there."

According to University of Mississippi Chancellor Dan Jones, police officers were alerted of "Twitter chatter" among students inciting a protest of the presidential election results at the student union. When police arrived they found around 40 students gathered in front of the union. Within 20 minutes the gathering had grown to more than 400 students. The crowd of students chanting political slogans was dispersed by university police. Shortly thereafter, around 100 students gathered at a residence hall. University police broke up the gathering and made two arrests — "for disorderly conduct, including one for public intoxication and one for failure to comply with police orders."

Chancellor Jones has expressed that some of the incidents reported on social media outlets were less than accurate:

“Unfortunately, early news reports quoted social media comments that were inaccurate. Too, some photographs published in social media portrayed events that police did not observe on campus. Nevertheless, the reports of uncivil language and shouted racial epithets appear to be accurate and are universally condemned by the university, student leaders and the vast majority of students who are more representative of our university creed.”

For now, the administration says it will conduct "a thorough review of this incident to determine the facts and any follow-up actions that may be necessary.”

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