Vitter: University to expedite Meek name removal process
University of Mississippi Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter released a letter on Wednesday afternoon detailing the University’s plan to expedite the name change process for the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, one week after a Facebook post by donor Ed Meek sparked controversy.
On Sept. 22, Meek made a request to have his name removed from the school of journalism and new media building, and according to the letter, the expedition process is a direct result of that request.
“On Monday, the faculty of the School of Journalism and New Media voted to accept Dr. Meek’s request, and the dean of the school, Will Norton, asked for expedited consideration of this matter by the councils on campus that must review it,” the letter read. “As a result, members of the Undergraduate and Graduate Councils are now voting by email on whether to accept the request to remove the Meek name from the school.”
The councils are comprised of faculty from across the entire university, and each council has one voting student representative.
If approved by both councils, the request will be considered by the Council of Academic Administrators, which is chaired by the provost. Its voting members include all deans, the Faculty Senate chair, faculty representatives, the three vice chancellors within Academic Affairs, the Associated Student Body president and the Graduate Student Council president.
If approved by the above councils, the Council of Academic Administrators will refer the matter to Vitter, as chancellor, who will refer the request to the Institutes of Higher Learning Board for consideration on an expedited basis.
“I recognize that the attachment of my name to the School of Journalism is no longer in the best interest of that vision,” Meek said in his request. “I love Ole Miss too much to be one who inhibits the University and the School from reaching the highest potential and it is with that in mind that I make this request.”
As far as Meek’s naming gift of $5.3 million is concerned, Vitter said the University is also examining the appropriate procedures within its power.
“There have been comments from members of the public and the media recommending that the university return the naming gift,” Vitter said in the letter. “State and federal law and the terms of the original agreement governing the management of these funds prohibit the University from making such a move unilaterally. Discussions are underway with the Meek family on the most appropriate way to proceed.”
The timeline for the expedited procedures is still unclear.