20 September 2010
Ole Miss turns its back on its heritage
‘The white-bearded, cane-toting mascot — think Mark Twain crossed with Colonel Sanders — has not been the Rebels’ official team cheerleader since 2003. But his image is ubiquitous on fan merchandise, including T-shirts, Confederate flags and corkscrews.
This summer, Ole Miss announced a ban on the sale of any items with his image. And in coming weeks, the university is expected to hold a student-run election to pick a new mascot.
It is part of a longstanding plan to recast the university’s image, still tarnished by its reputation for racial strife in the 1960s, to signal that it is more tolerant and diverse. Confederate battle flags were discouraged from football games years ago, and “Dixie” is no longer the unofficial fight song.’