Move over, Oklahoma’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon. A student at Ole Miss just joined you on the list of campus crazies, and with the U.S. Dept. Justice’s March 27th announcement that it would pursue civil charges against him for racist activity that occurred last year.
The new BMOC of Bigotry is Graeme Phillip Harris, who now has to answer for allegedly vandalizing a statue of the university’s first black student with a noose and a flag bearing the Confederate symbol.
The two charges are conspiracy to violate civil rights and use of threat of force to intimidate, according to Talking Points Memo. Harris, 20, was one of three students participating in the prank, but is the only one charged.
Attorney General Eric Holder said:
This shameful and ignorant act is an insult to all Americans and a violation of our most strongly-held values. No one should ever be made to feel threatened or intimidated because of what they look like or who they are. By taking appropriate action to hold wrongdoers accountable, the Department of Justice is sending a clear message that flagrant infringements of our historic civil rights will not go unnoticed or unpunished.
A contractor working on the campus found its memorial to James Meredith, who became the first African-American student at Ole Miss in 1962, maligned on the morning of Feb. 16, 2014. The contractor told campus newspaper The Daily Mississippian:
I came up on a couple younger-looking boys by the loading dock that were yelling ‘white power’ and ‘f— n—–s’ on my way back over towards the statue.
Campus authorities quickly began investigation, which Holder and DOJ began aiding just a few days later. Ole Miss’ Sigma Phi Epsilon (no relation to Univ. of Oklahoma’s SAE) expelled Harris and the other two members for apparent participation in the vandalism. The national fraternity suspended the school’s charter shortly after, as well, with its CEO remarking that SPE was the first fraternity to openly invite persons of all races and religions.
Harris is free on bond, but is limited to travel in northern Mississippi and in his home state of Georgia. If convicted, he faces up to 11 years in prison.