3 University of Mississippi Students Suspended for Posing With Guns
Last week, tensions heightened at the University of Mississippi after an off-campus memorial sign dedicated to Emmett Till was reportedly found riddled with bullets and three students posing for a picture beside it, according to a CNN report.
The incident came to light after the photo of three men brandishing guns in front of the sign caught the attention of social media users.
All the men posing in the picture were members of Kappa Alpha fraternity, which suspended them on Wednesday.
“The making of the photo was unrelated to any event or activity of the chapter. It is inappropriate, insensitive, and unacceptable. It does not represent our Kappa Alpha Order,” Jesse Lyons, assistant executive director of the Kappa Alpha Order’s national office wrote in an email to CBS News.
Till, a 14-year-old African American civil rights icon, was brutally lynched in 1955 for allegedly flirting with a white woman in Mississippi.
In March, the photo was reported to the university’s Bias Incident Response Team, which later referred the case to campus police, and the FBI, The New York Times reported.
According to the university spokesman Rod Guajardo, the FBI had declined their request to investigate the matter citing it as a non-serious threat. Later, the university also decided not to take any disciplinary action because it didn’t violate their code of conduct.
“To me, that’s sacred ground,” Deborah Watts, Emmett’s cousin and the co-founder of the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation, was quoted as saying by The Times.
“Emmett’s body was dumped here. He was brutally murdered. He was lynched. What sense of pride does that represent for you?”
Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division is currently examining the case.
On Thursday, the Emmett Till Memorial Commission announced the replacement of the vandalized sign with a bulletproof one. It will also install a gate and security cameras.
In April, two individuals defaced the Unsung Founders Memorial dedicated to slaves and African American workers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with urine and racist slurs.