Ole Miss welcomes largest, perhaps rowdiest class yet - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Ole Miss welcomes largest, perhaps rowdiest class yet

It's getting more and more crowded at Ole Miss, as students and faculty recently welcomed the largest freshman class ever at the school. It's getting more and more crowded at Ole Miss, as students and faculty recently welcomed the largest freshman class ever at the school.

(WMC-TV) - It's getting more and more crowded at Ole Miss, as students and faculty recently welcomed the largest freshman class ever at the school.

This year, the student boy includes more than 3,500 freshman - the largest class to date at the University of Mississippi.

"I think slot of positive things are going on at U of M," said Larry Ridgeway, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs. "I think 'The Blind Side most certainly helped. I think the University also having the presidential debate."

The steady increase in the student population over the last five years has some worried about campus overcrowding, especially when it comes to classrooms and dorms.

"We have three new residence halls that we plan to open next year, the fall of 2012," Ridgeway said. "That will give us 860 beds."

With Ole Miss being a commuter campus, students who rely on the university's busy bus lines for transportation say they too can be crowded.

"Half hour before classes start trying to get on is a problem," Kyle Schlett said. "It's just a strategic decision."

Along with being the largest class, a recent article in the Daily Mississippian suggested it could be the wildest.

"The article that appeared in the Daily Mississippian used a very limited set of opinions to make that determination and produce that headline," Ridgeway said.

"In some sense people do that here," student Davis Rogers said. "I'm not going to say that Ole Miss is a college where people never drink or anything because it does happen."

But other students disagree with the perception of the university's freshman being labeled as rowdy.

"I don't think the freshman class is any rowdier than any other," freshman Sierra Mannie said.

While alcohol and drugs are prohibited in or around campus housing, University officials have zero tolerance for any student who violates any university policy.

"This is a pretty typical semester.  That vast majority are serious students here to reach their educational objectives," Ridgeway said.

According to Ridgeway, while freshman student enrollment continues to increase, the university is taking advantage of opportunities for expansion around campus, including spending over $3 million to renovate space in an Walmart building in Oxford.  It will be used for future office space and a university math lab.

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