Last night, a small group of Ole Miss students decided to protest the re-election of Barack Obama as President of the United States, presumably because they are college students and have nothing but free time. Eventually, the crowd got bigger and bigger, as more bored students wanted to see what was going on, and people started yelling at one another in the way only politics makes people do, and at some point, racial slurs made an appearance.
The police broke up the large crowd in front of the student union, but a smaller group moved on and gathered in front of one of the dorms to continue with whatever it was they felt compelled to do. Police then broke up this gathering, even arresting two of the especially stupid ones.
Initially, this incident seemed much worse than it was, with the word "riot" being used because people have terrible descriptive abilities. But, after reading what actually happened, this public display of stupidity was a small group of students with nothing better to do, and a very small group acting like racist assholes.
What's so irritating about this whole thing is that, while that version of events appears to be the truth, that's not how it plays out in the media or public perception. People hear or read the words "riot", "disturbance", "Ole Miss", "racial slurs", and "police" and they immediately think what they want to about Ole Miss, which is usually the worst. In their minds, OF COURSE it's a place still hating black people and fighting the Civil War.
And that's terribly unfair to Ole Miss as a whole, especially given the size of the group actually being morons, but that's what years of doing much worse than what happened last night earns you, which is a total lack of the benefit of the doubt. That's why something like this can't happen, and if it does, the assholes who do it need to, getting a little Old Testament here, reap the whirlwind for being stupid and/or racist assholes.
In an email to Ole Miss students/alumni/those on the mailing list, Chancellor Dan Jones said, "The investigation of this event will be thorough and individuals found in violation of any law will be referred to appropriate authorities." That's good and all, but the school needs to start cracking down on those who engage in such staggering stupidity, especially if they're throwing around racial slurs.
Even if the administration can't identify those who escalated things last night and/or the racial slur-yellers, they need to let it be known that won't be tolerated at all from this point on. Start by letting students know that if they're found guilty of such behavior, they start losing important parts of their college life.
Things like no more student tickets for the rest of their time at Ole Miss, no more scholarship(s) they may have, they become the very last person to register for classes, and tuition is $1 more than the highest out-of-state tuition. And in the worst cases, kick those assholes out of school for good.
Take away the privileges of convenience with which they've gotten comfortable and motivate them to change their behavior. And if they don't want to change, they'll be encouraged or forced to go be a dipshit somewhere else.
Ole Miss has changed dramatically for the better over the last 40-50 years. It's time to strike down little blips like this that give people an opening to the racist angle they're always so desperately looking for at Ole Miss, which then requires the school to use time and resources to respond to the work of a few morons.
Let's flex some administrative muscle and teach students that they can either act like non-morons or go find another place to be a worthless sore.