(Oxford, MS) An Ole Miss fraternity has been suspended over a noose and old Georgia flag placed on the James Meredith statue.
Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity suspended its University of Mississippi chapter after three members were accused of putting a Georgia flag and noose on the James Meredith statue.
It appears three freshman members are the main suspects in what happened at the statue.
The university hasn’t identified the students, who are 19 years old and live on campus.
All three are from Georgia and have attorneys, but aren’t talking.
Officials at The University of Mississippi said evidence in the matter has been turned over to state and federal investigators, but aren’t sure exactly what charges the trio could face.
“We want to make a statement that we don’t want to tolerate…and we will not tolerate…such behavior here at The University of Mississippi,” said Donald Cole.
Cole is vice chancellor of Multi-Cultural Affairs at Ole Miss.
He said the university will use the full extent of the law to prosecute three students who defiled the statue of civil rights icon James Meredith.
It happened Sunday, where the statue has been standing since 2006.
The three students allegedly draped a Georgia state flag over the statue.
“With the confederate symbol on it, draped around the statue. Along with a noose, if you will, around the neck as well,” said Cole.
The university planned to interview the three Thursday night, but they didn’t show up after their lawyers advised them not to talk.
Many students say the incident has focused a negative light on the university.
Senior Correl Hoyle has been staging a silent protest for one hour every day since the flag and noose were discovered.
“I’ve decided to make the feet of the James Meredith statue as my new study spot,” said Hoyle.
He’s concerned that some students consider the act just a prank, but he believes it is much more.
“Just like how he was 50 years ago, James Meredith was not welcomed here. And he’s still not welcomed here by certain individuals,” said Hoyle.
Hoyle wants the three freshmen charged, but it’s unclear exactly what they could be charged with.
But Ole Miss junior Katie Kinsella was clear about what the three should face.
“It’s definitely a hate crime to the extreme and I feel like they should be punished. I don’t know if jail time or fines, I’m not sure, but I feel like there should definitely be some sort of punishment,” said Katie Kinsella.
James Meredith was the first black student to attend the university in 1962.
Chancellor Dan Jones said, “These individuals chose our university’s most visible symbol of unity and educational accessibility to express their disagreement with our values. Their ideas have no place here, and our response will be an even greater commitment to promoting the values that are engraved on the statue – Courage, Knowledge, Opportunity, and Perseverance.”