Magazine article Newsweek

The Old-Fashioned Way: You Can Keep Your 'Internet Candidate.' at Ole Miss We Still Get Excited about Beauty Queens, Quarterbacks and Bush

Magazine article Newsweek

The Old-Fashioned Way: You Can Keep Your 'Internet Candidate.' at Ole Miss We Still Get Excited about Beauty Queens, Quarterbacks and Bush

Article excerpt

Byline: Laura Houston

Howard Dean may be making headway on many college campuses, but here at the University of Mississippi he's not turning many heads.

The national media paint Dean as the "Internet candidate"--a new kind of politician who's showing how campaigns of the future will be run. Maybe that's why he's not catching on at Ole Miss. Tradition reigns supreme here. At the football tailgates on Saturday afternoons, girls in cocktail dresses still mingle with boys in linen blazers. Dorms remain strictly gender-segregated (by mandate of state law) and alcohol is forbidden on campus (in theory, if not practice). Our most celebrated alumni are still beauty queens, quarterbacks and, of course, Trent Lott.

This isn't the same Ole Miss that captured the nation's attention when it was desegregated by James Meredith 42 years ago. Nonwhite students now make up about 17 percent of the student population, and our Oxford campus isn't any more self-segregated than most other colleges in America today. Some changes, though, remain slow in coming, as prominent alumni proved last June when they protested the university's decision to replace the university's mascot, Col. Reb. "Mississippians just don't like change very much," Gordon Fellows, president of the Ole Miss College Republicans, told me. "They just don't, for good or for bad."

They also don't like Democrats. In November, when the Magnolia State swept Democrat Ronnie Musgrove out of the governor's mansion in favor of Republican Haley Barbour, Ole Miss students could hardly contain their glee. …

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