Ole Miss students occupy Lyceum to protest student's racist comm - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Ole Miss students occupy Lyceum to protest student's racist comments

Protesters at the Lyceum (Source: WMC Action News 5) Protesters at the Lyceum (Source: WMC Action News 5)
Jordan Samson (Source: Twitter.com/ShaunKing) Jordan Samson (Source: Twitter.com/ShaunKing)
Protesters outside the Lyceum (Source: WMC Action News 5) Protesters outside the Lyceum (Source: WMC Action News 5)
OXFORD, MS (WMC) -

An Ole Miss student is under investigation for threatening to lynch protesters, and many fellow students are fighting back.

A post on Facebook from an Ole Miss student surfaced online. The post came from a page belonging to Jordan Samson--the page has since been hidden or deleted.

Samson commented on a thread about the protests happening in Charlotte. His post read, "I have a tree with enough room for all of them if you want to settle this Wild West style."

Samson's page claimed he was a student at Ole Miss. The school responded, saying it would investigate the post because it did not tolerate that type of language.

Students have since began a protest at the Lyceum building--the oldest building on campus. Students packed the building, sparking an "Occupy" movement with the hashtag #OccupytheLyceum.

Students on the campus said they're fed up and are holding a sit in directly in front of the chancellor's office to protest the fact that the chancellor has not expelled the student.

Students lined the building inside and out with signs like "Black Lives Matter," and similar messages, showing that they will not tolerate racism on campus. 

Ole Miss student Andrew Soper posted a video of Charlotte protests on Facebook that led to Samson's comment.

Andrew was at the occupy protest, front and center, to talk to his classmates.

"I want to make known that that's not who I am," Soper said. "I don't want people to tie that to me."

Soper said he just got angry.

"You think you can just come here and make a change? Please! Stop it, stop it! I'm sorry, I just got livid about this," he said.

He faced a lot of hard questions from the crowd.

Ole Miss Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said the university if aware of the comment. He issued a statement that said in part:

"Some social media comments suggest or condone actions that are inconsistent with our core values, our university Creed, and, in some cases, encourage action in direct violation of university policies. The University of Mississippi condemns the use of language that might encourage or condone violence. Instead, let’s be respectful and civil in our discourse, as called for in The Creed."

Later in the evening, Chancellor Vitters issued a statement regarding the issue.

"To be clear, we condemn the recent social media post by one of our students that referenced lynching. In light of our country's history, that comment can only be seen as racist, offensive and hurtful, especially to members of our African-American community.

I appreciate the willingness of the student leaders to meet with me and to continue the dialogue. Together, we are committed to moving beyond words toward action, harnessing the transformative power of education to realize the ideals of our Creed."

Soper said he understands he needs to do more.

"I need to actively engage more with every aspect of the community and I haven't really done a good job of that," he said.

The university did not comment on if the student will be expelled.

"I was shocked that someone would even say that, especially someone here at Ole Miss," student Tkeyah Davis said.

Protesters at the Lyceum were actively calling for Samson's expulsion.

"It's really a coming together of the Ole Miss community to quickly respond to such a horrendous comment and statement that really should never even been said in the first place," student Ike Hill said.

Students said they do not feel Samson's comments accurately represents the Ole Miss campus.

"I feel like a very small population of students actually do feel that way," Davis said.

The protesters used the comments as a way to talk about race relations at Ole Miss.

"I need to actively engage more with every aspect of the community, and I haven't really done a good job of that," Soper said. "We can't talk past each other; we have to talk to each other, and that what this is. And that's really impactful, because if you're talking past each other all day, every day, then no one hears anything."

The University of Mississippi NAACP chapter said they will occupy the Lyceum until Samson is expelled and the school acknowledges that his comment was a threat of terrorism.

They issued a list of demands:

  1. The University acknowledge that Jordan Samson’s comment was a racist threat of domestic terrorism & take immediate disciplinary action.
  2. Administration apologizes for its previous statement that failed to explicitly acknowledge and condemn said act of anti-black racism.
  3. Chancellor Vitter release a statement reassuring that future threats & acts of racism will be considered intolerable in our community.
  4. Chancellor Vitter agree to work directly w/ student orgs & leaders to proactively confront & address a culture of white supremacy at UM.

Vitter responded by meeting with concerned students. The university confirmed that Samson is still enrolled at school, but said they condemn his comments.

Vitter released another statement in light of the protest at the Lyceum:

This afternoon I learned that a number of students had gathered at the Lyceum to express their concerns about a recent social media post and our response to it. Because I have an open door policy, I invited some of the student leaders to meet with me and other university leaders. The students helped me more fully understand the impact on them of national events and this particular social media post. They expressed great pain, sadness, and concern for their own safety.

To be clear, we condemn the recent social media post by one of our students that referenced lynching. In light of our country’s history, that comment can only be seen as racist, offensive and hurtful, especially to members of our African American community. There is no place in our community for racist or violent acts.

I appreciate the willingness of the student leaders to meet with me and to continue the dialogue. Together, we are committed to moving beyond words toward action, harnessing the transformative power of education to realize the ideals of our Creed.

Copyright 2016 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

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