TUPELO – Members of the Colonel Reb Foundation were in Tupelo on Thursday afternoon as part of a campaign to persuade the University of Mississippi to return to its former mascot.
With the foundation’s Executive Director Brian Ferguson dressed as the colonel, the group walked through downtown Tupelo and also went to the University of Mississippi’s campus here.
There they got about 100 of the university’s students to sign a petition declaring that Colonel Reb was their “one and only preference” for the school’s official mascot.
The university removed the controversial plantation-era Southern gentleman as its official mascot in 2003, citing racial insensitivity, among other factors. Earlier this month, the school announced the Rebel Black Bear as its new mascot.
Ferguson said that the group has collected more than 4,000 signatures to restore Colonel Reb from students at the university’s Oxford, Southaven and Tupelo campuses. The foundation will travel to the medical center campus in Jackson soon.
Ferguson said the group will hold a rally in Oxford in mid-November and then present the petition to Chancellor Dan Jones.
“Ultimately, Jones will be forced to make a decision, and we hope he makes the right decision and the decision that a lot of students and alumni and fans want, and that is to reinstate Colonel Reb,” Ferguson said.
Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or email@example.com.
Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal