Despite calls for unity and cooperation from both Governor Mitt Romney
and President Barack Obama
, a group of approximately 40 University of Mississippi students, unhappy about Obama winning the election, began shouting racial slurs in front of the student union. Campus police arrived and in less than 20 minutes, the crowd had swelled to an estimated 400 people. As police ordered the students back to their dorm rooms, another crowd of around 100 students began assembling in front of a residence hall.
News of the crowds began appearing on Twitter, prompting more students to gather. Students eventually began spilling into the street, blocking traffic and burning Obama campaign signs. The scene was called a riot by many who observed the crowds.
Twitter user The_MAMster
was present at the riots. She tweeted:
#OleMiss students: We are live tweeting the "riots" on campus. Please tweet at me for updates/info. OAN this is a disgrace to our university
The President speaks about unity on TV while Ole Miss students riot. This is 1962 all over again. #ashamed
University Chancellor Dan Jones, issued a statement
on Wednesday saying:
“While we are grateful that there were no injuries and there was no property damage, we are very disappointed in those students who took a very immature and uncivil approach to expressing their views about the election. The gathering seems to have been fueled by social media, and the conversation should have stayed there.
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.”
Two students were arrested. One was charged with public intoxication, while the other student was charged with failure to comply with police orders.