Rebels: Student antics no match for ‘bigger fish’

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 22, 2009

Up in Starkville, Dr. Mark Keenum, president of Mississippi State University, is telling his faculty to come to grips with the very real possibility that actual state dollars provided in 2012 could be 23 percent less than actual state dollars pledged when this fiscal year began. Down in Lorman, Dr. George E. Ross, president of Alcorn State University, is dealing with an off-campus fracas between two students that left one of them shot to death. In Columbus, Dr. Claudia Limbert is packing her bags, leaving Mississippi University for Women with a recommendation to change the shrinking university’s name to help attract more students.

But what university “issue” seems to be occupying the minds of many outspoken citizens? Why, it’s whether Dr. Dan Jones, chancellor of the University of Mississippi, acted appropriately in asking the band to stop playing a medley because students in the stands have chosen to shout “the South will rise again” as the closing phrase.

Jones said he based his request on the risk that some people, especially minorities, might be offended by the cheer. Odds are, of course, that’s exactly the students’ point. “Rebels” are rebellious and being collectively insensitive is a way of showing off, nothing more. Many of the students voicing the words are just as likely, when in class, to display better decorum. Here’s a headline: Young people in groups do nutty things.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Speaking of class, some relevant history: Earlier this fall, the student government suggested “Go to hell LSU” as an alternate closing phrase. And if “the South will rise again” really relates, as some insist, to lingering resentment over having lost the War Between the States, then cursing the rival school carries the same subtext. That’s because an early superintendent of what became Louisiana State University was William Tecumseh Sherman, the Union general despised to this day for his march across Georgia.

A saying in this region of which we can all be proud is “there are bigger fish to fry.”

Chancellor Jones had a judgment call to make and made it. Let’s move on.