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Letter to the Editor

To the University Community:

On the heels of the Election Night “riots,” another racist incident has been reported in the news media. A black freshman’s truck was vandalized the day before, with racial slurs keyed into his truck and the tires slashed. In light of these terrible events, I applaud the students, staff, faculty, and alumni who have joined together in the past week to emphasize that this is not acceptable at the University of Mississippi. Unfortunately, much more is needed.
In light of these events, I urge the administration to adopt a zero-tolerance approach toward perpetrators of hate. The number of participants at the candle light vigil on Wednesday night illustrates the transformation that has occurred on this campus in the past fifty years. The time of indulging those that terrorize their fellow students through racist language or acts is over. No more forced apologies printed in the Daily Mississippian. No more sensitivity training or community service. Kick Them Out. Let us show the world and the nation that the University of Mississippi, aware of its past and history, is not messing around anymore. Unfortunately, much more is needed.
Further education is needed to make the incoming students understand the inherited implications of attending the University of Mississippi. I urge the administration to develop an orientation on the history of racism at the university for all incoming students. We already have classes on sex education and the dangers of alcoholism, why not racism? The Daily Mississippian was correct in their Nov. 8 editorial on students “carrying the weight of the university’s history.” Such an orientation class will illuminate to incoming students that the University’s past demands us to be held to a higher standard. Provide incoming students with a more informed view of the history of racism at this school and those students will be better prepared to counter the legacy of racism within the university’s culture.
This cannot happen overnight, but I am inspired by those that joined together on Wednesday night in front of the Lyceum. I am confident that the perpetrators of hate do not represent the majority of our campus. As such, I am equally confident that we can now stop hand-holding these “few bad apples.” A zero tolerance approach toward racism, coupled with incoming student orientation on racism, will advance the university forward. To the university administration, and in particular Chancellor Jones, I urge a tougher stance than the one of the past. Much more is needed and it is needed now.   
Boyd R. Harris
Third year PhD