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Jerry Mitchell, The (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion-Ledger

JACKSON, Miss. The University of Mississippi plans to add a vice chancellor of diversity, rename Confederate Drive and give better historical context for Confederate symbols.

The reforms, aimed at addressing racial divisions, came Friday in a report released by Chancellor Dan Jones in the wake of a Feb. 16 incident in which a noose was placed around the neck of a statue of James Meredith along with a Confederate emblem.

Susan Glisson, executive director of the William Winter Institute of Racial Reconciliation, served on the Sensitivity and Respect Committee that made recommendations.

Jones 'understands there is not a one-time, fix-all solution,' she said. 'It's going to take a comprehensive approach. It's a process that will take time and commitment.'

'The university has a special obligation to do it right and be a greater service to the university and the state,' she said.

Confederate Drive will be renamed Chapel Drive. The road begins at the University's Chapel.

Coliseum Drive, which officials had already planned to rename, will now be called Roy Lee 'Chucky' Mullins Drive in honor of a football player who died after a suffering a paralyzing injury on the field. He was an African-American. Also, the entrance to the newly named Manning Center was recently designated the Williams-Reed Foyer in recognition of Ben Williams and James Reed, the first two African-American football players at the university.

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Ed Ayers, president of the University of Richmond, was an adviser on the project. He suggested that Confederate symbols not be erased but placed in historical context.

That's what Ole Miss plans to do with Confederate emblems and buildings named after segregationist leaders, adding plaques that give more of the story.

Friday's report included a discussion of the use of the nickname, 'Ole Miss,' which university officials emphasized they are embracing and keeping.

'There are conspiracy theorists out there that have continued to spread the rumor that the name Ole Miss is going away,' said Tom Epps, chief communications officer for the University of Mississippi.

Nobody is suggesting that, he said.

The University of Mississippi has remained sensitive to matters of race, given the long shadow of its past.

In 1997, the university adopted a policy banning sticks and other pointed objects at athletic events in order to discourage the display of the Confederate battle flag by fans.

In 2003, the university discontinued appearances by longtime mascot Colonel Reb. After seven years without an on-field mascot, Ole Miss selected a black bear as his replacement.

The institution also put a halt to the chant, the 'South will rise again,' which had traditionally followed the band playing, 'To Dixie With Love.'

In November 2012, Ole Miss made headlines again when, after the re-election of President Barack Obama, some students reportedly yelled out racial slurs and profanity.

Meredith was the first black student to attend Ole Miss.

Kim Dandridge, the first African-American woman to be elected president of the student body at Ole Miss, said she welcomes the changes.

'It's great to see the university move forward to make it a more diverse place,' said Dandridge, who served as president for the 2012-13 school year.

She also praised the renaming of Confederate Drive. 'It makes Ole Miss a more welcoming place,' she said.

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