Letter to the Editor: A letter calling for reparative justice

We, the undersigned faculty, staff and graduate students, commend the faculty decision at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media to call for donor Ed Meek to remove his name from the school immediately. We thank Dr. Meek for making the right decision to voluntarily withdraw his name from the school after his racist and sexist Facebook post. We must not simply condemn acts and symbols of hate on our campus but also build institutions which affirm our students and raise up historical struggles for justice.

Meek’s comments expressed nostalgia for institutional racism and policies of racial exclusion, both of which are represented by the buildings and monuments on our campus. In the listening session on Sept. 20, students emphasized how monuments and buildings named after slave owners and segregationists act as a constant reminder of exclusion and source of harm.

Removing Ed Meek’s name from the School is a necessary, but basic, step in a much longer process of reparative justice. Our university must firmly stand for its stated values of intellectual excellence, non-discrimination and inclusion and support for all its students.

Thus, we ask that the administration immediately take the following steps:

First, in consultation with the Ida B. Wells Memorial Foundation and other stakeholders, explore renaming the School of Journalism and New Media after Ida B. Wells-Barnett, the pioneering investigative journalist, anti-lynching crusader, feminist suffragist and co-founder of the NAACP, who was born into slavery in nearby Holly Springs, Mississippi.

Second, establish resources and scholarships for black women who are pursuing journalism degrees at the University.

Finally, establish a Reparative Justice Committee led by students and faculty in consultation with the office of Diversity and Inclusion and the University of Mississippi Slavery Research Group to begin the process of removing the Confederate monument. We acknowledge the important efforts of the contextualization committee. But based on the listening session with students and our classroom discussions, we conclude that more must be done to change the hostile climate on our campus. Accordingly, the committee will work toward other concrete changes to foster an inclusive community. This committee should be led by those most harmed and should promote reconciliation and constructive responses to the historical wrongs of slavery and segregation.

Mikaela Adams, Associate Professor, History

Alan Arrivee, Associate Professor, Theatre and Film

Sarah Baechle, Assistant Professor, English

Elias J. Baker, Graduate Student, History

Frances Barrett, Graduate Student, Southern Studies

Tony Boudreaux, Associate Professor, Sociology and Anthropology

William Boyle, Instructor, Department of Writing and Rhetoric

Lindy Brady, Assistant Professor, History

Michelle Bright, Adjunct Instructor, Writing and Rhetoric

Jaz Brisack, Opinion Writer, The Daily Mississippian

Cullen Brown, English

Luanne Buchanan, Instructional Associate Professor, Modern Languages

Anne Cafer, Assistant Professor, Sociology and Anthropology

Ellie Campbell, Reference and Instruction Law Librarian, Khayat Law Center

Jeff Carter, Associate Professor, Political Science

Miguel Centellas, Instructional Assistant Professor, Sociology and Anthropology

Keerthi Chandrashekar, Graduate Student, Southern Studies

Jesse Cromwell, Associate Professor, History

Carlynn Crosby, Graduate Student, Southern Studies

Carey Bernini Dowling, Instructional Assistant Professor, Psychology

Conor M. Dowling, Associate Professor, Political Science

Erin Drew, Assistant Professor, English

Leigh Anne Duck, Associate Professor, English

Kari Lynn Edwards, Graduate Student, History

Beth Ann Fennelly, Professor, English

Tom Franklin, Associate Professor, English

Shennette Garrett-Scott, Assistant Professor, History and African American Studies

Sarah Heying, Graduate Instructor, History

Vivian Blair Hobbs, Senior Lecturer, English

Antonia Eliason, Assistant Professor, Law

Cristin Ellis, Associate Professor, English

Chiarella Esposito, Associate Professor, History

Brian Foster, Assistant Professor, Sociology and Southern Studies

Fiona Foster, Graduate Student, History

Angela Green, Lecturer, Writing and Rhetoric

Darren Grem, Associate Professor, History and Southern Studies

Garrett Felber, Assistant Professor, History

Lester L. Field, Professor, History

Mark Frezzo, Associate Professor, Sociology and Anthropology

April Holm, Associate Professor, History

Sherra Jones, Administrative Coordinator, School of Engineering

Zachary Kagan Guthrie, Assistant Professor, History

Bryan Kessler, Graduate Instructor, History

Spencer Walker King, Graduate Student, History

Frances Kneupper, Associate Professor, History

Kiese Laymon, Professor, English

Marc H. Lerner, Associate Professor, History

Jennie Lightweis-Goff, Instructor, English/Outreach

Alexandra Lindgren-Gibson, Assistant Professor, History

Rebecca Marchiel, Assistant Professor, History

Andrew Marion, Graduate Student, History

Amy McDowell, Assistant Professor, Sociology and Anthropology

Kathryn McKee, Associate Professor, English and Southern Studies

Marcos Mendoza, Assistant Professor, Sociology and Anthropology

Maureen Meyers, Assistant Professor, Sociology and Anthropology

Matthew L. Murray, Instructional Associate Professor, Sociology and Anthropology

John R. Neff, Professor, Associate Professor, History

Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Professor, English

Joshua Nguyen, Graduate Students, English

Minjoo Oh, Associate Professor, Sociology and Anthropology

Cecelia Parks, Research & Instruction Librarian and Assistant Professor, University Libraries

Catarina Passidomo, Assistant Professor, Sociology and Anthropology, Southern Studies

Elizabeth Payne, Professor Emeritus, History

Eva Payne, Assistant Professor, History

Thomas Porter, Graduate Student, History

McKenna Raney-Gray, Law School

John Rash, Instructional Assistant Professor, Southern Studies

Peter Reed, Associate Professor, English

Christine Rizzi, Graduate Instructor, History

Thomas Robinson, Graduate Student, History

Justin I. Rogers, Graduate Student, History

Jarod Roll, Associate Professor, History

Charles K. Ross, Professor, History and African American Studies

Je’Monda S. Roy, Graduate Student, Southern Studies

Mohammed Salau, Associate Professor, History

John Paul Samonds, Associate Dean, Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College

Dinorah Sapp, Lecturer, Intensive English Program

David Hooper Schultz, Graduate Assistant, Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies

John Sonnett, Associate Professor, Sociology and Anthropology

Deborah Smith, Senior Accountant, Bursar

Kelly Smith, Graduate Student, Higher Education

Jasmine P. Stansberry, Graduate Student, History

Ashley Lauren Steenson, Graduate Student, History

Elizabeth Young Sweeney, Research Associate, Center for Population Studies, Sociology and Anthropology

Peter Thilly, Assistant Professor, History

Afton Thomas, Project Coordinator, Southern Foodways Alliance

James M. Thomas (JT), Assistant Professor, Sociology and Anthropology

Colleen Thorndike, Instructor, Writing and Rhetoric

Jemar Tisby, Graduate Student, History

Nicolas Trepanier, Associate Professor, History

Anne Twitty, Associate Professor, History

Jay Watson, Professor, English

Jeffrey R. Watt, Professor, History

David Wharton, Assistant Professor, Southern Studies

Ian Whittington, Assistant Professor, English

Nancy L. Wicker, Professor, Art and Art History

Jessica Wilkerson, Assistant Professor, History and Southern Studies

Sarah Bartlett Wilson, Instructor, Writing and Rhetoric

Harrison Clay Witt, Assistant Professor, Theatre and Film

Timothy Yenter, Associate Professor, Philosophy and Religion