Talk:University of Mississippi

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FYI to current and former students[edit]

Please see Category:Wikipedians by alma mater: University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) and add yourself by placing the userbox on your WikiPedia page. -- ALLSTARecho 02:00, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

Ole Miss/plantation owner[edit]

While the first cite I removed didn't appear to support the assertion that this was the source of the nickname, the Sesquicentennial History connects the dots fairly explicitly. I think it can stay on the article now -- other opinions?--SarekOfVulcan (talk) 13:13, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

"The University of Mississippi: A Sesquicentennial History" by Sansing (1999) does not state this is why Elma Meek chose the name. Additionally, the sentence mentioning this goes unreferenced and unsupported with any further writing. Sansing (1999) states the following, "In 1897 the Greek societies established a college yearbook, which they titled Ole Miss, a name suggested by Elma Meek, a student from Oxford. The term "Ole Miss" was a title domestic slaves in the Old South used to distinguish the mistress of the plantation house from the young misses of the family" (p. 168). This statement has been the basis of the claim "Ole Miss" was chosen due to slave connotations ever since, appearing in numerous newspaper articles and books after this one was published. To this day, there is no definitive proof Elma Meek chose this name because of this connotation. In fact, the term "ole" is a folksy term commonly used in the middle nineteenth-century to show reflective endearment, as per the New Oxford American Dictionary. The abbreviation "Miss." was the official government and postal abbreviation for the state from the mid 1800s until 1963, when the two character convention was accepted. With these facts in mind and no record of her actual opinion, it is reasonable the name had nothing to do with slavery connotations and is only an inadvertent homonym. Personally, I find it hard to believe a student would want to refer to a university as if it were her slave mistress. There is no endearment in that idea, and endearment is the university's stated purpose behind the nickname. (talk) 23:58, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

"Really, the ultimate origin is unknown." statement by Dr. Charles Eagles, William F. Winter Professor of History at the University of Mississippi, on the Massachusetts School of Law's "Books of Our Time" broadcast series. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:41, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

And if you continue listening he then offers his professional opinion on the most likely explanation given the available evidence. That's how history works - you put together the best available evidence to create the most likely explanation or account of events. Dr. Winter is eminently qualified to offer his professional opinion on this topic and he has done so not only in that video but presumably in the book about which was speaking. That he holds an endowed chair at the University of Mississippi strengthens his claims considerably since he (a) presumably has excellent access to the institution's archives and the resources of the local area and (b) is very unlikely to be making this claim with an interest to hurt or besmirch the university.
I'm sorry if it bothers you that this institution has deep historical roots in prejudice and slavery. But that's the university's history, good or bad, and it should be included in this encyclopedia article and not hidden or erased. ElKevbo (talk) 07:48, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

Sorry, something being "likely" does not equal a verifiable fact. The original yearbook is on display in the library and there are dedications to Ms. Elma Meek in other yearbooks, as well. All support the official university stand and none say anything about it being related to a slave term. Wikipedia content must not be original research and offer a neutral point of view. Saying that Ole Miss is something "likely" against the verifiable citation from official University website is against the terms and purpose of Wikipedia. Specifically listed: "Avoid stating opinions as facts." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:07, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

I'm afraid that you misunderstand (a) Wikipedia's practices related to edit warring and conflict resolution, (b) Wikipedia's policy related to original research, and (c) the academic discipline of history. The university's self-serving denial of its roots in slavery are no excuse to whitewash the article by omitting the work of professional historians.
Given the specific nature of this material and your insistence on it being censored, I can't help but wonder if you have a particular interest in this subject. Can you please clarify if you have a bias or conflict of interest? ElKevbo (talk) 09:56, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

The statement in question represents on opinion as a certain and verifiable fact. This goes against Wikipedia's neutrality tenet, one of the three basic tenets of Wikipedia. Additionally, Dr. Eagles never suggests slaves were forced to use a term, but that the term "ol' missus" is eye dialect. To say they were forced is also misleading from this reference. This is the reason I am removing it: it misrepresents opinion as fact, and is against Wikipedia's requirement for neutrality. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:31, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

Would you be ok if the assertion were attributed and did not use the word "forced?" ElKevbo (talk) 19:37, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
I would still not support the assertion with only the term "forced" removed. It is still not a verifiable fact and not encyclopedic. The certainty is "Ole Miss" was Ms. Elma Meeks' idea, and her reasons for that idea are unknown. To assert she derived the term from another without a citation from her or her estate is supposition, not fact. Due of the nature of the term, it could be seen as somewhat slanderous. Additionally, I understand "Ole Miss" is a little homonymic to "ol' missus," but that does not constitute etymology. To assert so is misleading. In the end, the statement in question is not a neutral statement. However, I believe this is something that should remain on the discussion or talk pages.( (talk) 22:53, 8 January 2012 (UTC))
The professional opinion of a tenured historian is notable; your opinion is not. Your censorship of this article will not be tolerated. ElKevbo (talk) 23:32, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

(unident) Just so we're all clear, here is the specific passage from Dr. Eagles's book "The Price of Defiance: James Meredith and the Integration of Ole Miss:"

When students in 1897 named their new yearbook Ole Miss, they began the university's long association with the term. According to tradition, the name had two possible derivations. One suggested that Miss was simply the diminutive name for Mississippi, whole Ole referred to the antebellum and Confederate periods. A more likely explanation claimed that it came "from darkey dialect." [emphasis added] Previously, the shortened phrase referred to the "Old Mistress," the name slaves used for the wife of the antebellum southern planter. It captured the "beauty of the tender affection of the slaves for the gracious ministrations of their owners" and "the glamorous days when the lovely lady...within the sphere of her domain reigned supreme. Therefore, the term 'Ole Miss' is one which is redolent of the romance, the chivalry, the beauty, the culture, the graciousness and the finish traditions of the Southland." It again conjured up "the love and all the wonderful incidents thereof inspired in the hears of those to whom 'Ole Miss' ministered in the slave days."

Dr. Eagles cites a 1932 article from the Ole Miss Alumni News and a 1939 article as a footnote for this paragraph.

According to the author's webpage, the book won several awards, including the McLemore Prize from the Mississippi Historical Society for the best Mississippi history book in 2009, the 2010 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for nonfiction, and the 2010 Lillian Smith Award in non-fiction. The university was also not shy about trumpeting these awards.

This, of course, is in addition to the clear statement above from Sansing's 1999 book "The University of Mississippi: A Sesquicentennial History." So you're expecting us to believe that your opinion is more important and trustworthy than these sources, at least one of which (a) was written by a historian with impeccable credentials, (b) was peer reviewed and published by a university press, and (c) received multiple awards, including awards from regional historical societies? That strains credulity and is a clear violation of WP:NPOV. ElKevbo (talk) 23:55, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

I am agreeing with you that the derivation is unknown, just as Dr. Eagles says. If you wish to state, "The etymology of the term Ole Miss is uncertain," then that would be factual and neutral. There may be opinions from people with impressive credentials, but these opinions are still not fact. For example, Dr. Sansing's statement in his book has no citation or reference. That's because they are opinions, therefore may be biased and are not neutral. Wikipedia's neutrality tenet says do not treat opinion as fact. The goal is to be encyclopedic. It would be different if you had a citation from Elma Meek or the 1897 Ole Miss editorial board, who did not state a slave mistress was the derivation in their "Raison d' Etre" in the 1897 yearbook. I am not stating an opinion, just that the statement that was deleted was not neutral. Neutrality is the reason I stand by the deletion.( (talk) 00:43, 9 January 2012 (UTC))
No, the correct claim would be something like: "Official university sources state that the nickname "Ole Miss" comes from... However, other sources authored by professional historians offer an alternative explanation..." How's that?
And please, please, PLEASE read WP:OR and WP:NPOV. Information published in reliable sources is rarely open to the kind of criticism you're trying to level; if you believe it's incorrect then the proper course of action is for you to publish your criticisms and then we can cite that. And NPOV only applies to Wikipedia authors. Others are allowed to have opinions and in fact they usually should have opinions. In this instance, professionals in the field have published in reliable sources their opinion as supported by the available evidence. If we follow your recommended course of action, we'll need to go through every article on every topic and add "In the opinion of __" to everything we write. That's not how we work; it's unworkable and unreasonable. ElKevbo (talk) 00:54, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
The WP:NPOV says opinions should not be presented as facts, to avoid seriously contested assertions as facts, use non-judgemental language, and accurately reflect the relative prominence of opposing views. The phrase in question was, "The name Ole Miss originated from a term of respect for a plantation owner's wife that the slaves were forced to use," without further qualification. That violates all four NPOV I listed at least and is why I deleted it. It appears you now agree the phrase is not neutral, so I hope we can move the discussion forward. However, I must assert that an opinion published in a reliable source by a reputable person is still only an opinion, and it should not be presented as a fact. It should be presented as an opinion of the author as stated in WP:RSOPINION. The facts remain Elma Meek came up with it, it won a contest for the yearbook in 1897, and was adopted as a term of endearment for the school years later. There is a copy of this book in the university library. There is a raison d’être in the book that makes no suggestion a slave term is the source of the title, and there is no further evidence from Elma Meek. Therefore, it is contestable and judgmental to now say Elma Meek stole the term from slave vernacular with such certainty. Lastly, I can tell you are determined and passionate about this subject, and I respect that, but please remain civil and know my intentions are in good faith. I am only deleting a statement that was in clear violation of Wikipedia's policy on neutrality. ( (talk) 03:15, 9 January 2012 (UTC))
Stop wasting our time with your misunderstanding of Wikipedia policy and historiography and answer the question. ElKevbo (talk) 06:21, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
What question is going unanswered? Perhaps we should seek conflict resolution.( (talk) 13:51, 9 January 2012 (UTC))
No, the correct claim would be something like: "Official university sources state that the nickname "Ole Miss" comes from... However, other sources authored by professional historians offer an alternative explanation..." How's that? ElKevbo (talk) 17:19, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
OK. How about leave the current paragraph since that is cited and official from the university, and make an ancillary section after the mascot discussion devoted only to the relatively recent contention on the sobriquet? It needs to be proportional and provide proper weight, but cover all the information available. The university stance went uncontested for 102 years before a source offered a differing explanation, and Dr. Eagles does admit the origin is truly unknown and possibly unrelated to black jargon of the time. Thoughts? (JillPope 7 (talk) 04:04, 10 January 2012 (UTC))
Why should the "official" explanation take precedence over the one published by eminent scholars in reliable sources? And where do you come up with the idea that the explanation "went unchallenged for 102 years?" Have you conducted a thorough review of the literature? Did you even see the sources cited above from the first half of the 20th century?? ElKevbo (talk) 13:01, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
The University of Mississippi; Its first hundred years (J.A. Cabaniss, 1949) describes the inception just as the university does, and the dedication to Elma Meek in the 1945 yearbook does, too. From the 1897 yearbook to Sansing's book is 102 years, so that's where I got that and it's just demotic. As far as source material, Sansing's assertion is unreferenced, so this is considered a primary source and hard to use. Eagles is better because its a secondary source, but when he admits, "Really, the ultimate origin is unknown" and gives multiple likely origins there's too much uncertainty and opinion. In the end, it's the university's intellectual property, and the official tune that it was a just made up phrase (akin to "Mizzu" or "Wazzu") hasn't changed since it began to be used. The fact the school never used "Ole Miss" like it means a plantation wife is significant, too. For example, the university has voted for a "Miss Ole Miss" for homecoming since the 1920s. If it meant something different, why not just vote for an "Ole Miss"? Just a thought. (JillPope 7 (talk) 08:39, 11 January 2012 (UTC))
I suggest that a combination of the above should be possible, with something like "The etymology of the term Ole Miss is uncertain. Official university sources state that the nickname "Ole Miss" comes from... However, other sources authored by professional historians offer a potential alternative explanation...". Allens (talk) 16:16, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Sounds good to me! ElKevbo (talk) 23:13, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Time for "Ole Miss"[edit]

Virtually everything about the University of Mississippi, including the football helmets and even the web site (, now front the "Ole Miss" designation. Is it now time for Wikipedia to reverse the redirection from Ole Miss to University of Mississippi so that the article is titled "Ole Miss"? This change, if it occurs, has the added advantage of obviating confusion over the names of the three doctoral-granting public universities in Mississippi--Ole Miss, University of Southern Mississippi, and Mississippi State University. Rammer (talk) 21:01, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

Nah. ElKevbo (talk) 02:22, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

Mascot and Nickname[edit]

The student-led effort to bring an on-field mascot back to Ole Miss ended on October 6, 2010, with the selection of the "Rebel Black Bear" concept. This was only a proposal to the university, who then turned the idea over to the athletics department for further development and eventual implementation 1. The final, official on-field mascot will not be presented until after this process is complete. Therefore, to place "Rebel Black Bear" concept as the school's mascot on the Wiki page is misleading and should be removed until it is official. It is very possible the final on-field mascot will have a different name or look that the initial concept. The name "Rebels" remains Ole Miss' official athletics nickname 2. This is similar to Purdue University who has a nickname and a mascot ("Boilermakers" and the "Boilermaker Special"), which are not one in the same 3. Ole Miss' Wiki should reflect a similar distinction once the on-field mascot is official. ( (talk) 08:54, 16 October 2010 (UTC))

Enrollment figures for Ole Miss[edit]

The enrollment figures for Ole Miss listed include ALL Ole Miss campuses, yet the location listed is "Oxford". There are only about 15,800 students in Oxford at Ole Miss. Putting 19,500 as the enrollment of Ole Miss is deceptive. If that is the standard, then the University of Alabama's all-campus enrollment is 50,000. Nobody does this. There's no need to pad the stats. Ole Miss is unique because it is a smaller campus and tight knit community. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:50, 11 August 2011 (UTC)


The first sentence says that it is the largest university in the state while at the same time, the last sentence of the first paragraph says it second largest. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:22, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Image deletion discussion[edit]

Relevant deletion discussion at Wikipedia:Files for deletion/2012 January 1#File:Mississippi Football.png.--GrapedApe (talk) 17:58, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

racism at Ole Miss[edit]

I am not familiar with this subject, but maybe someone can look at the following CNN video and see what, if anything, should be included in this article, per: