The Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity is currently trying to do some serious damage control in the wake of three students at their University of Mississippi chapter being caught in a pretty vile and racist crime. Well, it may not technically be a “crime” that three white 19-year-old freshmen have been accused of hanging a noose on a statue of James Meredith–that being the first black student to ever study at the previously all-white college back in 1962. Did we just say a noose? The statue was also sporting an old Georgia state flag with a Confederacy emblem.
When we first reported on this creepy event, we felt obliged to note that plenty of racist hoaxes had occurred on American campuses over the past several years. It looks like Mississippi–and, specifically, Ole Miss–still has the kind of students who can commit an old-fashioned hate crime. It’s particularly galling for Sigma Phi Epsilon to be associated with that kind of thing, of course, and the fraternity has moved pretty quickly on the matter. They’ve suspended the Ole Miss chapter and expelled the three students accused of the crime.
Did we mention that it might not be a crime? Yeah, that’s going to be a pretty sad situation. Nobody technically vandalized the statue. Now the FBI is getting involved to find any violations of federal law. Fortunately, Ole Miss can also pursue the matter through a student-faculty judicial panel. That could get the (alleged) creeps thrown off the campus. Sigma Phi Epsilon hasn’t felt compelled to address this on their website yet, though. They need to get on that. Ole Miss doesn’t deserve to take the entire rap here.