Statement from Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter

“I fully support our athletics department and its commitment to integrity and compliance with NCAA rules. We will continue to cooperate closely with the NCAA and SEC to investigate the facts. As chancellor, I can assure you that we will never waver in upholding the core values of our university, as epitomized in the UM Creed, which include cultivating personal and professional integrity.”

– Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter

UM Statement on Death of Student

The entire Ole Miss family is saddened when we lose one of our students. This morning, we learned of the loss of Tristan Byrd, a freshman from Brandon, Mississippi. We offer our deepest sympathy to Tristan’s family and friends during this tragic time. Each student is special, and we know Tristan will be greatly missed. Representatives from the University Counseling Center are available to individuals who would like to talk with someone. For more information about the Counseling Center, visit http://counseling.olemiss.edu/.

Statement regarding allegations of unacceptable behavior at Derby Days event

The Office of the Dean of Students at the University of Mississippi has been made aware of an incident that reportedly took place on campus Friday evening during a Derby Days event. Derby Days is an annual philanthropic initiative sponsored and hosted by the Sigma Chi fraternity at UM.

Representatives of the Title IX Office at UM are actively investigating the allegations that have been discussed on social media platforms.

If substantiated, the behavior reported at this event clearly violates campus policy and one of the UM community’s core values, which is for our students to show respect and dignity for all. While the investigation into the incident moves forward, the Sigma Chi fraternity has been directed by university officials to cease any official or unofficial Derby Days activities.

“The university takes the report alleging a hostile environment very seriously,” said Rebecca Bressler, director of Equal Opportunity and Regulatory Compliance at UM. “It is important that members of our community feel safe and supported – actions that undermine that goal will not be tolerated.”

University officials expressed their appreciation to those who have come forward to discuss this incident, and they encourage others who were either there or have information that may be helpful to also assist in the investigation.

Such individuals should contact Honey Ussery, Title IX coordinator at UM, by either calling 662-915-7045 or emailing hbussery@olemiss.edu.

A Look Back on Ole Miss Football’s Spring Break Mission Work in Haiti

The Rebel family helped provide a sustainable water system to their friends in Camp Marie

Members of the Ole Miss Football team use their spring break to serve those in need.

Members of the Ole Miss football team use their spring break to serve those in need.

OXFORD, Miss. — Select members of the Ole Miss football program and support staff recently gave up their spring break for the third year in a row to serve others by doing mission work in Camp Marie, Haiti.

A 28-person group representing Ole Miss made the return trip to Camp Marie to help provide valuable irrigation to the crops of Haitian farmers. In previous trips, the Rebels helped dig a well to provide clean water for the same village.

Coach Hugh Freeze emphasized the value this trip has not only for those he’s serving, but also the Ole Miss players and staff.

“That trip never disappoints in the realm of making you grateful and thankful for what we have here,” Freeze said. “It is a difficult trip for me the older I get, but it’s worth it to a lot of families and kids.”

Rebels senior quarterback Chad Kelly was on the trip for the second straight year, bringing along teammates Talbot Buys, Armani Linton and Sean Rawlings.

“It was amazing,” Kelly said. “You have the opportunity to kind of take a step back and realize how thankful you really are to be here in the United States and have the opportunity to play at a great university. A lot of those kids grow up in a certain situation and they can’t really get out of it. For us, to be able to go over there and put smiles on kids’ faces, that’s what it’s all about. We’re thankful we are able to go there and help them.”

Ole Miss partnered with the 410 Bridge organization, which has provided continued support for the Haitians that call Camp Marie home. With the help of 410 Bridge and the Rebels, Camp Marie is now closer to being able to take higher steps and see economic growth as a village.

Stephen Ponder, Ole Miss senior executive associate athletics director, and his family joined the trip this year, and Ponder also spoke on the weight of the trip.

“I know that for my family and the others on the trip from Ole Miss, seeing the need for basic things like water, food, shelter and clothing was overwhelming at times,” Ponder said. “We can take things for granted so easily at home, so seeing this up close and personal made a lasting impact.”

Ponder, being the only senior administrator on the trip this year, reflected on the lasting impact trips like this can make on the young people.

“I think it is so important that our student-athletes learn so much more about life outside their sport,” Ponder added. “Seeing how fortunate we are every day, taking advantage of opportunities before us and keeping things in perspective are valuable teaching moments that our coaches can use to transform lives on our teams. Coach Freeze does a great job of utilizing football as a platform for a higher purpose to change lives.”

Along with several other members of the Ole Miss athletics family and support staff, coaches Corey Batoon and Maurice Harris and their families joined the trip as well this year.

“We are well known in that village,” Freeze added. “They love to see the Ole Miss group there and to see them get fresh water and the joy they have for getting it is pretty humbling. It always ends up impacting us more than it’s impacting them.”

Freeze added that his foundation, the Freeze Foundation, has committed continued assistance to Camp Marie’s irrigation growth in the future.

Follow Ole Miss football on Twitter at @OleMissFB, as well as Facebook and Instagram. For more information, visit http://www.OleMissSports.com.

See more images from the trip here.

Message from UM Advisory Committee

To the University of Mississippi Community:

As you know, Chancellor Vitter has today posted an open letter to the university community acknowledging and endorsing our request to consider additional input to the contextualization language we recommended for a plaque at the Confederate statue on Lyceum Circle.

Comments and suggestions regarding the message or ideas expressed in the plaque should be submitted by email to us at context@OleMiss.edu by April 8.

We will consider all the input we receive and then recommend to Chancellor Vitter either no change to the current language on the plaque or a specific revision based on the additional input.

Respectfully,

Dr. Donald Cole

Dr. Andrew Mullins

Dr. Charles Ross

Dr. David Sansing

Language on the plaque currently reads as follows:

“As Confederate veterans were passing from the scene in increasing numbers, memorial associations built monuments in their memory all across the South. This statue was dedicated by citizens of Oxford and Lafayette County in 1906. On the evening of September 30, 1962, the statue was a rallying point where a rebellious mob gathered to prevent the admission of the University’s first African American student. It was also at this statue that a local minister implored the mob to disperse and allow James Meredith to exercise his rights as an American citizen. On the morning after that long night, Meredith was admitted to the University and graduated in August 1963.

“This historic structure is a reminder of the University’s past and of its current and ongoing commitment to open its hallowed halls to all who seek truth and knowledge and wisdom.”

UM Students Take First Place in Regional Public Relations Competition

Winners among 27 awards for Ole Miss in Southeastern Journalism Conference

Two University of Mississippi public relations students won first place in the Southeastern Journalism Conference competition among students from universities throughout the Southeast. Both seniors in the Meek School of Journalism, they are (left) Tori Olker, a broadcast journalism major from Chicago and (right) Victoria Lanza, a broadcast major from Richardson, Texas. (photo credit Stan O’Dell)

UM public relations students Tori Olker (left) and Victoria Lanza won first place in the Southeastern Journalism Conference competition among students from universities throughout the Southeast.  Photo by Stan O’Dell

OXFORD, Miss. – Two University of Mississippi public relations students have won first place in a competition among students from universities throughout the Southeast.

Tori Olker and Victoria Lanza, both students in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, won the Southeastern Journalism Conference on-site public relations competition hosted last month by Austin Peay University in Clarksville, Tennessee.

They were among the 27 total award winners from the Meek School in multiple competition categories. In addition, the entire team brought home the Grand Championship award.

Olker and Lanza were selected to compete by their public relations instructor, Robin Street.

“When I was asked to choose two students to compete, I immediately knew it would be Tori and Victoria,” said Street, senior lecturer in integrated marketing communications.

“To succeed in public relations, one must be able to conduct research, plan creative strategies and, most of all, write effectively. These two students excel in those skills and have done superb work in class projects and internships.”

Olker, from Chicago, is studying print journalism with an emphasis in public relations, and Lanza, from Richardson, Texas, is studying broadcast journalism with an emphasis in public relations. Both are graduating seniors.

“Ms. Street expects the highest quality of work from her students, and because of this, Victoria and I felt completely prepared and confident going into the competition,” Olker said.

In the competition, the students had one hour on-site to develop an eight-step communications plan to address a public relations situation presented by judges.

“It was not an easy task having to put together an entire campaign in an hour, but it definitely gave me a taste of a potential real-world experience,” Lanza said. “It means so much to see that our hard work was recognized.”

A list of all the student winners from the Meek School is available here. For more information on the UM journalism school, visit http://meek.olemiss.edu/.

UM Hires Emergency Management Coordinator

Barb Russo will become the University of Mississippi’s emergency management coordinator on March 16.  Russo joins UM from Fayetteville State University, where she serves as program chair and assistant professor of fire and emergency services administration. Russo has extensive experience as a first responder, faculty member and a trainer in emergency services and operations.

The university extends its gratitude to the search committee, led by Kathy Gates.

Please join us in welcoming Barb Russo to our campus.

Final Day to Register for 2016 UM/UMMC Research Day

Be a part of 2016 UM-UMMC Research Day

Be a part of 2016 UM/UMMC Research Day.

The University of Mississippi Medical Center will host the second-annual 2016 UM/UMMC Research Day on Thursday (March 3) in the second-floor conference center of the Norman C. Nelson Student Union.

The event will feature three-minute lectures, a poster session and keynote speeches by UMMC and UM faculty, postdoctoral fellows, staff and students.

“One of the goals of research day is to facilitate communication between our campuses,” said Dr. Richard Summers, UMMC associate vice chancellor of research. The event also will be a resource for faculty, staff and students to find potential collaborators for future projects.

Registration is required to attend. The deadline to register as an attendee is Friday (Feb. 26). Registration for presenters is closed.

With more than 100 presentations scheduled, 2016 UM/UMMC Research Day will cover topics ranging from genetics to gravitational waves, giving everyone an opportunity to learn something new.

Research Day Schedule

9-10 a.m.
Registration and Poster Setup

10 a.m.
Welcome
Richard L. Summers, M.D., Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, UMMC
Alice M. Clark, Ph.D., Vice Chancellor for Research, UM
Rooms A/B

10:05-10:20 a.m.
Featured Keynote Address
Jeffrey S. Vitter, Ph.D., M.B.A., Chancellor, UM
Rooms A/B

10:20-10:35 a.m.
Keynote Address
Alan E. Jones, M.D., Professor and Chair of Emergency Medicine, UMMC
“Adaptation and Precision: A New Approach to Acute Clinical Trials”
Rooms A/B

10:35 a.m.-Noon
Three-Minute Lectures
Room A

Noon-1 p.m.
Poster Session
Rooms C/D
Lunch
Board Room

1-1:15 p.m.
Keynote Address
Arnita Norwood, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, Jackson Heart Study, UMMC
Rooms A/B

1:15-1:30 p.m.
Keynote Address
Katherine Dooley, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy, UM
“Listening to Colliding Black Holes: First Detection of Gravitational Waves”
Rooms A/B

1:30-2:45 p.m.
Three-Minute Lectures
Rooms A/B

2:45 p.m.
Closing Remarks
Richard L. Summers, M.D., Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, UMMC
Rooms A/B

Museum Hosts Valentine’s Family Day

The Valentine's-themed event is set for Saturday, Feb. 13 from 10 a.m. until noon.

The Valentine’s-themed event is set for Saturday, Feb. 13 from 10 a.m. until noon.

The University of Mississippi Museum is helping families get into the Valentine’s Day spirit by hosting a “Quilting Cupids” Family Activity Day this weekend.

This drop-in event is set for 10 a.m. to noon Saturday (Feb. 13). Admission is free to all and a snack will be provided.

Families and children of all ages are invited to make fun Valentine-related projects that are inspired by the museum’s new exhibit of fine art quilts, “Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry: 40 Years of Color, Light and Motion.”

Activities include paper quilt-making, learning to sew and a gallery scavenger hunt. Museum staff also will collect donations of quilts and blankets for More than a Meal and Interfaith Compassion Ministry, both benefiting families in the Oxford-Lafayette community.

“Family Days at the UM Museum are truly a special opportunity for families to explore the museum and create hands-on art projects together,” said Emily McCauley, curator of education. “We are thrilled to introduce families to the spectacular quilts of Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry.”

The event is sponsored by the Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi and an Ignite Ole Miss crowd-funding campaign, which raised funds to support three years of free family days.

The University Museum, at the intersection of University Avenue and Fifth Street, is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. For more information on upcoming exhibitions and events, visit http://www.museum.olemiss.edu and follow the museum on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Library Brown Bag Lecture to Examine Poetry of Sterling Plumpp

Corey Taylor speaks Friday as part of Black History Month

Corey Taylor

Corey Taylor

Corey Taylor, associate professor of English at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, will discuss “Blues, Bebop and Black History: Poetry and Prose of the Sterling Plumpp Collection” during a brown bag event Friday at the University of Mississippi’s J.D. Williams Library.

The free lecture is slated for noon in the Department of Archives and Special Collections’ Faulkner Room. Attendees are invited to bring and enjoy their lunch during the presentation.

A Clinton native, Plumpp is known as one of the country’s most distinguished blues-jazz poets.

Taylor spent a sabbatical at UM, where he worked with Plumpp’s papers in the archives. He plans to talk about that experience and the musical influences in Plumpp’s poetry.

The event also will provide an inside look into the university’s archival collection, said Jennifer Ford, head of the Department of Archives and Special Collections.

“It will give people the sense of the depth of research possibilities in Special Collections,” she said. “This lecture focuses on what you can learn about Plumpp and his work from our own collections at this university.”

The lecture is a part of the university’s Black History Month observance. Some items from the Sterling Plumpp Collection will be on display for the next few months on the second floor of the library.

For questions or assistance related to a disability, contact Jennifer Ford at jwford@olemiss.edu or 662-915-7408