It’s the first week of school in the college town of Oxford, Mississippi, home of the University of Mississippi — otherwise known as Ole Miss. Returning college students, a good number of them newcomers to the school, got the full treatment this past week about all manner of things, some of which no doubt had to do with the usual sensitivity and tolerance training now common at most universities. And some of which had to do with alcohol awareness, public safety, and the Ole Miss Creed, which covers the subject of public decency, among other topics.
Just a week before, Ole Miss announced the opening of the William Magee Center for Wellness and Education, a new facility dedicated to the study of drug and alcohol prevention. It was named after William Magee, a track star for the school and an honors student, who tragically died of an overdose in 2013 while struggling to overcome his own addiction.
And then came the news that rapper Wiz Khalifa — a known pothead — would be the headliner at The Pavilion, Ole Miss’s beautiful new basketball arena with seating for 10,000, as part of Welcome Week at the campus this Friday.
At first, most locals thought it was a joke. It wasn’t possible that such an act would be called upon to usher in the new academic year at a school dedicated to promoting goodness and beauty to young people.
It couldn’t be possible, many thought, because Khalifa’s lyrics celebrate the sexualization of women, glorify alcohol and drug use, and much worse — the very messages the adults at Ole Miss were hard at work trying to discredit during the very same Welcome Week.
Emails and texts flooded the office of Chancellor Jeff Vitter, and I’ve seen dozens of them. This email from a woman who recently graduated from Ole Miss said it all. Here it is. Her name is Meg Carter, and she insisted I include it in this piece.
Good morning Chancellor Vitter,
I wanted to personally write to you to describe my deep and heartfelt concerns regarding the upcoming Wiz Khalifa concert held by the SAA as a part of Welcome Week. As a proud Ole Miss alumni and contributing member of the Oxford/Lafayette community, I find that many issues/conversations come up here in town, they come and go, but rarely do I ever get myself involved. However, since yesterday I felt compelled to speak up about this. I hope you can understand.
Wiz Khalifa continues to self-promote an image of heavy drug use, disparaging views of women, and downright foul and offensive language used in his song lyrics and social media presence. Ole Miss had always fostered a culture when I was a student that these things and other of the like were not acceptable or would not be tolerated on campus. Has this changed? Below I have attached the concerning images that Mr. Khalifa has shared with his 17 million Instagram followers.
I am appalled to think that this is a culture that the University of Mississippi fosters and supports. Welcoming Wiz Khalifa to the Ole Miss campus on Friday [means] this horrendous culture and this behavior is acceptable by UM standards. How can we hold the students accountable for such behavior (drug use, sexualizing women, demeaning language, etc.) when this is brought to campus by UM administration? Is this a proper way to welcome all the new students to the Ole Miss community by telling them that these things are okay here at our school and town?
There are hundreds of [other] musical artists that would love to visit our beautiful school and can promote a more positive, welcoming message to our students than Wiz Khalifa and his message of heavy drug use and sexualization of women.
Again, Chancellor Vitter, I hope you can understand my position. Please let me know how I can help to change the course of Friday’s event.
I appreciate your time and thank you for your consideration,
P.S. I have also copied Khalifa’s lyrics, below. As horrifying as it is for me to repeat them — I thought it might be important for review.
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Chancellor Vitter did not respond to the email from Meg Carter, or countless others like it from concerned students and friends of Ole Miss. One can only wonder why.
The social justice warriors on the Left — the gender studies department and the leftists who peddle their Marxist theories on campus — have been silent, too.
Concerned students and parents are hoping it’s been one big misunderstanding and that the adults at Ole Miss come to their senses and cancel this show, which is an endorsement of misogyny and drug abuse.
If the students wish to see Mr. Khalifa at a private venue, that’s their business. It’s a big country. People have a right to choose their own brand of entertainment.
But Ole Miss, the flagship university of the state, should not be promoting such values. Not during Welcome Week or, for that matter, any other week of the year.
Lyrics to “On My Level” (Excerpt)
No blunt smoking
Bad b**** gettin’
Thick and she got some friends with her
I take ’em out pourin’ shots of liquor
Drinkin’ out the bottle, smiling in all my pictures
The marijuana loud so them h*** follow like twitter
n****, you know everything tailored
Don’t rush to the bar fool, if you ain’t got no paper
That’s the rules, high as f****, sloppy drunk when I’m passing through
Rollin’ doobies up, ya h** who we pass ’em to
Hit the club spend this money up, roll another one, drink, act a fool
That’s what I have to do …
She was high on that pill so I f***** yo lady
Come to my house I give ’em everything they want
I might not dot it, but I give to ya women
Cocaine, mushrooms, ecstasy, G.H.B., Marijuana
She can s*** it if she wanna
Lee Habeeb is VP of content for Salem Radio Network and host of “Our American Stories.” He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, with his wife, Valerie, and his daughter, Reagan.
(photo credit, homepage image: Andra Mihali/Matthiasb, Flickr/Wikimedia; photo credit, article image: thecomeupshow, Flickr)