OXFORD, Miss. — Many questions surround a picture of Ole Miss students holding guns and posing in front of the bullet-riddled marker dedicated to Emmett Till — a young man who came to symbolize the civil rights movement after his 1955 murder in Money, Mississippi.
The students were members of Kappa Alpha fraternity at Ole Miss but have been suspended from the chapter. The photo came to light after a report published by the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting.
While it’s unknown if any of the students fired at the sign, the image is creating a lot of controversy on campus.
“It’s just not okay to be smiling next to something like that, with guns in your hands,” said one Ole Miss student, who didn’t want to be identified says he feels this picture is offensive to memory of Emmett Till.
“It’s not OK. It’s very, very disrespectful after a terrible event like that.”
The photo was put on Instagram March 1 and got hundreds of likes before an anonymous complaint came in to the university, which referred the matter to the university police department.
The university says while the image is offensive, it did not present a violation of university code of conduct. It occurred off campus and was not part of a university-affiliated event.
Sophmore Kayci Kimmons doesn’t think the university should be blamed for what the three students did, but hopes a lesson can be learned
“I really felt disappointed after learning that. And I hate to say it but we’re kind of getting desensitized to this type of thing,” she said. “Like we’re not really reacting to it as much as we should.”
The matter is reportedly being reviewed by federal prosecutors to see if any civil rights violations occurred and charges could be filed against the men.