Former professor says racist desecration devalues Ole Miss degre - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Former professor says racist desecration devalues Ole Miss degree

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OXFORD, MS -

(WMC-TV) - The three young adults accused of vandalizing the James Meredith statue at Ole Miss are from Georgia, not Mississippi. In a state trying to heal wounds from a racially-charged past, some say it is depressing that a few people continue to pick at the scabs.

Fifty-five percent of this year's Ole Miss freshman class are not Mississippi residents.

After teaching at Ole Miss for decades, Professor Ralph Braseth is now at Loyola University in Chicago. He is beyond tired of seeing his former school making headlines several hours away.

"You just shake your head and say not again," said Braseth.

Last week, three freshmen tied a noose around the statue of the college's first black student, James Meredith. Braseth feels racial actions take away from his degree.

"You're going to tell me that doesn't devalue my time there, or my doctorate degree from there when I have people who roll their eyes when I bring up the University of Mississippi? Call that whatever you want, but I call it damage," he said.

The students may face federal charges, but are unlikely to get in trouble with the state. Prosecutors have had a difficult time finding a crime to charge them with, though Ole Miss can discipline the students through its judicial process. It's something Braseth believes would be a powerful message for future students.

"I am so past those little bigoted boys or ignorant boys, whatever they are. I'm not worried about them anymore, that's done. I'm worried about the students that are going to continue to come in the future," noted Braseth.

A Federal Bureau of Investigation spokesperson told Action News 5 via email that there were no updates in the ongoing investigation. It is unclear when the school's judicial process will start begin.

Copyright 2014 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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