Police are investigating a vandalism incident at the University of Mississippi that appears to be racially motivated, according to reports by the school newspaper.
The Daily Mississippian reported that a noose was found around the neck of a statue of James Meredith, the first black student to attend Ole Miss, on Sunday morning. An old version of the Georgia state flag, which prominently featured the Confederate stars and bars, was placed on the statue’s shoulders.
The statue of Meredith was dedicated in 2006 to commemorate the progress the university has made since he started at Ole Miss in 1962. According to Calvin Sellers, the university’s police chief, this is the first racist incident to involve the statue since its dedication.
A contractor who was working on campus early Sunday morning said he saw two white men near the statue, and that he heard them shouting racist epithets like the N-word and “white power” as they ran off. According to Talking Points Memo, university police have few leads, and surveillance footage is unlikely to be of much use in the investigation.
The Ole Miss Alumni Association has offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the two people responsible.