Ole Miss student booted from fraternity for mocking a Black protester, authorities say

Published 6:21 am Monday, May 6, 2024

An Ole Miss student was removed from the Phi Delta Theta fraternity due to his actions caught on video during a pro-Palestine protest Thursday on campus.

The fraternity made the announcement on its website on Sunday:

“Phi Delta Theta General Headquarters is aware of the video regarding the student protest at the University of Mississippi. The racist actions in the video were those of an individual and are antithetical to the values of Phi Delta Theta and the Mississippi Alpha chapter. The responsible individual was removed from membership on Friday, May 3.”

About 30 people gathered on the campus Thursday, protesting Israel’s attacks on Gaza, and demanding the school’s divestment from companies linked to Israel’s military campaign. They were met with hundreds of counter-protesters and more onlookers as students spilled out of their classes to gather to watch the protest that took place behind the J.D. Williams Library.

Shortly after the protest, a video of a student making monkey noises and gestures toward a black female protester surfaced and quickly went viral.

There were no arrests; however, the protest was shut down after counter-protesters started throwing food, bottles and cups along with insults. Police escorted the protesters off campus to a safe location.

On Friday, after the protest, Chancellor Glenn Boyce said a student conduct investigation had been opened against one student, but did not name the student. He said he and school officials are working to “determine whether more cases are warranted.”

“Behaviors and comments that demean people because of their race or ethnicity marginalize them and undermine the values that are fundamental to a civil and safe society,” Boyce said in a written statement. “… To be clear, people who say horrible things to people because of who they are will not find shelter or comfort on this campus.”

The University of Mississippi NAACP College Chapter posted on Instagram Sunday, calling for the explosion of three students they identified from the video — James “JP” Staples, of Texas, from the Phi Delta Theta fraternity; Connor Moore Jr., of Indianola, from the Kappa Alpha Order fraternity; and Rouse Davis Bouce, of Flora, from the Kappa Alpha Order fraternity.