Changes stir up controversy

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, December 10, 2015

Since I arrived in Lafayette County six-plus months ago, it seems the words “controversy” and “Ole Miss” are synonymous. I have thoroughly loved living here in this community, but never expected there to be a constant turmoil on a weekly basis.

Granted, some of these controversies are also on the state and national level, such as the debate over changing and removing the state flag from public display on state property because of the Confederate battle flag emblem following the deadly shooting in a Charleston, South Carolina, church or the latest issue that some are trying to drum up regarding the Student Activities Association at Ole Miss changing the name of an event on campus from “Grand Ole Christmas” to “Hotty Toddy Holiday” because it “connoted too much Christianity on campus,” according to SAA co-director and student Kayp May.

In a letter sent out late Wednesday, the American Family Association has accused the SAA of “promoting an anti-Christian climate” and seeking an apology. I respect what the AFA is trying to do, but I think they’re reaching on this one.

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The “Hotty Toddy Holiday” was apparently the only change in the Christmas event that took place Dec. 2 and has occurred annually for the last six years.

According to a press release from Ole Miss, there were Christmas carols and the traditional Christmas tree lighting during the event. A gospel choir also performed.

Social media went crazy, which prompted Ole Miss to state “… erroneous reports have created misperceptions,” about the event.

A school official also stated the student “wanted to make all students feel welcome and come to this annual event.”

“This student organization led a celebration that continued to honor Christmas traditions while welcoming all students to a holiday gathering.”

I have to agree that there likely was no intent on the part of the SAA to offend the Christian faith, but my concern is that school officials are allowing such changes to take place without any oversight. Shouldn’t someone at the school approve the change by the SAA? If not, I suggest they should in the future.

Rob Sigler is managing editor of the Oxford       EAGLE. Contact him at