Follow breaking news @lgbtqnation
Mississippi

Ole Miss chancellor: Gay slurs at student play a ‘learning opportunity’

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

GREENWOOD, Miss. — The chancellor of the University of Mississippi says the disruptions at a campus play with gay slurs and inappropriate laughter from the audience is an opportunity to educate students about tolerance.

Chancellor Dan Jones met Monday with the editorial board of the Greenwood Commonwealth. Jones was asked about the play at the meeting.

Dan Jones

Dan Jones

The disturbances occurred Oct. 1 during a university theater department production of “The Laramie Project,” based on the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, an openly gay University of Wyoming student.

Ole Miss officials say the dark theater made it hard to identify specific people, and early reports differ about the frequency, volume and source of comments.

Jones said those in the audience were almost exclusively freshmen, who were attending the three-hour play as a course requirement.

Jones said because of Ole Miss’ history, including the resistance to admitting black students years ago, the university gets more attention for episodes than it might otherwise.

The incident, he said, “creates large opportunities for us to be part of the learning process — to work in a state and a country and a world that’s still struggling with intolerance.”

He said many Ole Miss students come from “more sheltered backgrounds without exposure to social issues” and the university can help make them better people and better citizens.

He said he supports the university’s Theater Department for wanting to “raise the dialogue” about how people deal with homosexuality.

“They probably didn’t know they would create this much dialogue,” he said.

“The investigation so far has revealed a number of different accounts, (including) from actors on the stage who heard specific taunts, some on the issue of the play itself,” Jones said.

He said some people in the audience became restless or talked on cellphones during the performance.

“So far, there have not been reliable reports to assign individual responsibility,” Jones said. “That’s disappointing to a lot of people.”

The students are scheduled to meet with the cast of the play, and training on sensitivity and how to behave in a theater also will be held, he said.

“If students can be identified who had inappropriate behavior, they’ll be referred to our student judicial process,” he said.

© 2013, Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Share this article with your friends and followers:

Archives: , , , , ,

Filed under: Mississippi

44 more reader comments:

  1. Learning experience my ass. They are a bunch of evil stump fuckers.

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 1:04am
  2. Did you read the article? He's talking about the harassers learning about the harm their words cause.

    Replied on Friday, October 11, 2013 at 1:50am
  3. and they are still a bunch of dumb stump fuckers.

    Replied on Friday, October 11, 2013 at 1:50am
  4. And let the dialogue continue…in every dorm and athletic field….!!!

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 1:04am
  5. I’d like to teach his dumbass a lesson!

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 1:06am
  6. Pure VS

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 1:10am
  7. Learning experience? This isn’t high school. There’s a reason Mississippi is last in everything. It’s a shame, too, because I live in this stink pot state.

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 1:10am
  8. As a fellow Mississippian I encourage you to leave at your earliest opportunity. Attitudes like this post doesn't help.

    Replied on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 6:20am
  9. That’s BS!

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 1:11am
  10. This sounds like allot of nice talk about saying we are going to do nothing to bring the people who caused this issue to justice. The little snotty nosed bastards need the asses kicked up around their ears.

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 1:13am
  11. He’s not talking about a learning experience for the gays. He is talking about a learning experience for the people who made the comments. He’s sending everyone to sensitivity training and educating them on how to act in a theatre. He went on to say that if they find out who made the comments they will be dealt with. So calm your jets.

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 1:13am
  12. Thank you! I swear people just read headlines and assume they know what the article's about.

    Replied on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 1:18am
  13. Exactly! I'm a gay rights activist in Mississippi and was actually kind of proud. This page obviously needs someone else to write the articles because whoever wrote this one purposely misled the masses.

    Replied on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 1:21am
  14. Was it misleading? Because I assumed from the headline that he was using this as a teaching moment on the impact of homophobia. So I'm just coming to the conclusion that people are a tad defensive, which isn't surprising considering all the homophobic BS that's been in the news all summer because of Russia.

    Replied on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 2:12am
  15. Read the comments and you tell me whether or not it is misleading. There's a plethera of titles that could have been used. Yes I can make the argument that the title goes both ways and people should have read it but in reality, the title should have better reflected the GREAT news that the article contains.

    Replied on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 2:21am
  16. People see what they want to see.

    Replied on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 6:16am
  17. OK. Fair enough.

    Replied on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 9:43am
  18. Stephen, you have a cool middle name.

    Replied on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 1:47pm
  19. Stephen, thank you for being able to be objective until you actually read the information. Good comment.

    Replied on Friday, October 11, 2013 at 2:12am
  20. The holocaust was a learning experience but it was still one of the worst things to happen in world history.

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 1:19am
  21. Really? Really? You're going to compare this to the holocaust? Isn't that a tad drastic?

    Replied on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 2:07am
  22. Learn this m f

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 1:21am
  23. Careful. Your education is showing.

    Replied on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 6:20am
  24. “To say they will meet with to learn the students how to behave in a theater”……WTH, these are not 2nd graders, they are suppose to be college students. If they can’t comprehend the basics of how the behave in a theater setting, then they do not belong in college. Don’t waste the casts time on trying to show these bigots on how to behave in public. That was the parents jobs and they failed at it. If you want to send a message, kick them out, but I doubt that will happen since expelled college students mean less tuition money coming.

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 1:43am
  25. They are forcing the students to learn from the very people they called "fags". I applaud the chancellor.

    Replied on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 3:32am
  26. They are forcing the students to learn from the very people they called "fags". I applaud the chancellor.

    Replied on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 3:32am
  27. they just won’t learn..

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 1:55am
  28. So many people commenting on this haven’t read the article. Don’t make fools of yourselves by not reading the article.

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 2:02am
  29. They should maybe focus on not being the most unintelligent university in the country.

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 3:23am
  30. They should maybe focus on not being the most unintelligent university in the country.

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 3:23am
  31. so what, this state is a joke

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 3:29am
  32. If you live here, You are welcome to leave. I encourage you to. If not, Worry about your own state.

    Replied on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 6:22am
  33. Your state is till a Joke...

    Replied on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 8:43pm
  34. so what, this state is a joke

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 3:29am
  35. Come on…it is the football team and you know that every university in this country will protect the players first and to hell with the rest academic and/or social “educational opportunities”. The administration knows exactly who these players are but are turning a blind eye and falling on the excuse “the theatre was too dark”. Yeah, right!

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 5:42am
  36. he needs to wash his vagina

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 7:54am
  37. FUCK HIM AND FUCK ALL YOU NASTY HATEFUL IGNORANT STRAIGHT PEOPLE!!! MAYBE WE SHOULD BASH STRAIGHT AND BEAT THEM TO A PULP SEE HOW THEY LIKE IT! FUCKING BREEDERS!

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 8:06am
  38. Sound like a rather pathetic way of excusing the bad behavior without any meaningful repercussions.

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 10:14am
  39. I think a better learning opportunity would be to have the football players who made the slurs dress as female cheerleaders for a full week. Maybe then they would understand what it is like to be bullied just for breathing air.

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 12:39pm
  40. BUTT-HEAD….

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 1:26pm
  41. A calm and sane voice. Much appreciated.

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 2:11pm
  42. Job offering get paid in US DOLLARS. No experience needed,money will be sent to you through western union, go to the link. http://www.TheWorkPaid.com/?share=43993 I TRY IT AND IT WORKS.

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 3:27pm
  43. Maybe they shouldn’t let sheltered brats in, or make learning about others and their personal atrocities a mandatory course. In fact take them out of their comfort zone completely for that class, have it held in a much different setting…

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 4:53pm
  44. I was ok with the article until the comment about some students coming from sheltered backgrounds where they aren’t exposed to social issues. This is 2013. The South is not going to keep getting a pass. For heavens sake Mississippi, you will remain the uneducated state that you are if you aren’t doing a better job than this in bringing your students out of the 50′s.

    Posted on Friday, October 11, 2013 at 12:17am