Education

Ole Miss student who made racist remarks on social media withdraws

Over 50 people were involved in a sit-in at the Lyceum at the University of Mississippi on Sept. 23, 2016.
Over 50 people were involved in a sit-in at the Lyceum at the University of Mississippi on Sept. 23, 2016. Special to The Clarion-Ledger

An Ole Miss student from Brandon who made a racist comment on social media last month, has withdrawn from the university.

In a press release at news.olemiss.edu, the university announced Jordan Samson issued a public apology and then voluntarily withdrew from Ole Miss. He also gave the university permission to share the information.

“I’m writing his a broke man and with much sadness in my heart,” Samson wrote. “I do not want this post to define who I am. I was raised in a great home where I was taught to love everyone. Again, I am deeply sorry and I hope you can forgive me.

“I love this university and I am going to use this moment to grow and better myself as well as the university.”

“We as a university condemn the use of language that is threatening or racist, and we are committed to protecting our students and faculty. We also believe in the power of higher education to transform individuals,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said in the press release.

Samson was expelled from his Sigma Chi fraternity after he made an offensive Facebook post Sept. 23 about the riots in Charlotte, North Carolina. A New York Daily News reporter took a screenshot of the comment and tagged an official Ole Miss account on Twitter. It went viral from there and also resulted in a demonstration at the Lyceum demanding Vitter make a statement about the incident.

“Even though the social media comment he made may have been protected expression, Jordan wanted to take responsibility for the impact of his post on our community,” Brandi Hephner LaBanc, vice chancellor for student affairs, said in the release.

“Therefore, he has willingly agreed to take the educational and reparative steps that the University of Mississippi believes are necessary to help restore a healthy and productive environment for all members of our community, including Jordan,” Hephner LaBanc said.

Samson will remain on campus, however, and work with the staff at the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation and the Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement to participate in “learning opportunities and restorative justice activities.”

“Because of our history, because of the heightened tensions within our country, because our words should be chosen to persuade, not to degrade, we remind ourselves that civil dialogue that respects the dignity of individuals is the approach that makes us a nationally recognized role model,” said Donald Cole, assistant to the chancellor for multicultural affairs and UM’s chief diversity officer.

“We are committed to the free exchange of ideas,” Vitter said. “When those ideas are offensive and even harmful, our commitment is challenged. In this case, the community responded by making our values clear — the values of the UM Creed, which remind us that we are a community that respects the voice and contribution of everyone. We find that this atmosphere of mutual respect is where we see the greatest learning.”

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