Last year a decades-long University of Mississippi administration campaign to remove Colonel Reb as the school’s mascot culminated with students selecting a Bear as the new symbolic representative of the university.
Stripping the school of its former iconic identifier was applauded by many inside and outside the state but it’s clear that the majority of students and alumni did not appreciate the move. That protestation has manifested into the student and alumni-led Colonel Reb Foundation, which has organized an aggressive media and advertising campaign protesting the change.
Earlier this month, Colonel Reb Foundation Executive Director Brian Ferguson and CRF student chair Kellie Norton appeared on Reb Sports Radio, a network of three Mississippi radio stations based in Oxford.
During the appearance Univ. of Mississippi grad Ferguson and Norton, a junior at Ole Miss, indicated that the loss of the Colonel Reb mascot was likely the first step in the UM administration’s long-term plan to also banish the “Rebels” nickname and the school’s universally-adopted “Ole Miss” identifier.
Here’s an excerpt from UM grad Ferguson and UM student Norton talking about the topic on Reb Sports Radio:
Rebel Sports Rise Host Brent Phillips: “You talked about the (UM) administration taking away (Ole Miss traditions) piece by piece, do you believe the administration when they say ‘Rebels’ will stay? And that ‘Ole Miss’ will stay? Or are you guys saying eventually it’ll be the ‘Mississippi Black Bears’?”
Norton: “I think Ole Miss will be taken away, probably, just because of a few arguments that have come up about that. I think that slowly and surely all of our traditions will be gone. We’ve lost so many of our traditions already, what going to keep them (UM administration) from taking away even more?”
Ferguson: “I want to believe them (UM administration), I want to believe that ‘Ole Miss’ is going to stay. I want to believe that ‘Rebels’ is going to stay. But how can you when you’ve been bald-faced lied to so many times?”
If the Mississippi administration saw fit to remove Colonel Reb as its school mascot, hard to argue that it won’t eventually move to remove the university’s ‘Rebels’ and ‘Ole Miss’ monikers.
That is, if the organized protestation about Colonel Reb’s ouster ever goes away.