The namesake of the Meek School of Journalism at the University of Mississippi made a “highly offensive” Facebook post Wednesday night with an “unjustified racial overtone,” according to the school.
Ed Meek, an Ole Miss alumni who donated $5.3 million to the journalism school, made a post on his personal Facebook page Wednesday night regarding late-night activity on the Square in Oxford.
The post was accompanied by two photos of African American women. In his post, Meek said the photos were taken in the early morning hours of Sunday morning after the Ole Miss-Alabama game Saturday night.
“I hesitated until now to publish these pictures but I think it is important that our community see what the camera is seeing at 2 a.m. after a ballgame,” Meek wrote in the post.
Meek claimed “180 police” were working over the weekend but that he saw “no police present” during “all the pictures last night, the fights and scenes.”
Meek then addressed local leaders, saying, “Enough, Oxford and Ole Miss leaders, get on top of this before it’s too late.”
He added, “A 3 percent decline in enrollment is nothing compared to what we will see if this continues…and real estate values will plummet as will tax revenue. We all share in the responsibility to protect the values we hold dear that have made Oxford and Ole Miss known nationally.”
Meek could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.
At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, the post had been online for approximately four hours. By 7:30 p.m., it had been deleted. The Clarion Ledger obtained screenshots of the post before it was deleted.
The post generated nearly 600 comments before it was deleted. Most of the comments criticized Meek, calling the post racist and some pointing out that white women often wear similar outfits but were not photographed or criticized.
University of Mississippi Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter condemned the post and addressed its racial nature.
“While we all want to ensure a safe, family-friendly environment at the university and in Oxford, I must condemn the tone and content of Ed Meek’s post from earlier today. The photos in his post suggest an unjustified racial overtone that is highly offensive. I urge Ed to withdraw his comment and apologize to anyone offended,” Vitter said in a statement.
While Meek did delete the post, he had not made any kind of apology or addressed the issue publicly as of Wednesday night. Instead, after deleting the post, Meek shared one of his previous posts featuring a blog post with a video showing a Saturday fight between fans of Ole Miss and Alabama.
Facebook users were quick to post on the new shared post criticizing him for his deleted post. Some shared screen shots of the deleted post, and one user — who identified himself as studying public policy leadership at the university — linked to a Change.org petition to have Meek’s name removed from the journalism school.
The leaders of the journalism school distanced the institution from Meek’s comments in a post on their Facebook page Wednesday night.
“This post is in no way associated with or represents our school, our students or our faculty. We are embarrassed by his actions,” the post read. The post was signed by the school’s dean, Will Norton, and four assistant deans.
Sam R. Hall contributed to this report.
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