NEW: @OleMiss is trying to compel its ombudsman to turn over confidential communications in order to unmask the #UMemails whistleblowers who exposed a web of racism among UM officials and donors.

The effort has "terrified" faculty members. 1/…
“We’re all worried the university is going to get a hold of his communications & that our names will be revealed,” said one faculty member (not a whistleblower) who shared concerns with the ombudsman, fearing retaliation if they raised them elsewhere. 2/…
Two faculty members said they worry the university could be laying groundwork to eliminate the Ombudsman Office altogether.

“If they took that Ombuds office away, there would be nowhere for faculty to go. ... That’s the only place we have on campus." 3/…
"People would be terrified of speaking up because people who speak up get hammered at this university. There is no place to go except the Ombuds office to be treated fairly & with respect. Paul Caffera as the ombudsman is the only place women can go.” 4/…
The University of Mississippi EORC, which is charged with enforcing Title IX, is leading the investigatory effort to unmask the #UMEmails whistleblowers on "hostile work environment" allegations" after they exposed a web of racism and sexism on campus. 5/…
Ombudsman Caffera filed a lawsuit on Nov. 19 to block the EORC’s efforts to compel him to disclose information or to access his emails and private communications. He says he is not affiliated with and does not know the identities of the whistleblowers. 6/…
There is no indication UM officials involved in the racist #UMemails were punished. Instead, the EORC is probing vague claims that the whistleblowers are creating a “hostile work environment…on the basis of race & national origin & just in general.” 7/…
"The purpose of a university ombuds is to provide a safe & confidential place for members of a university community to bring forward issues of concern in a manner that protects them from retribution or retaliation for (speaking) about their concerns." 8/…
For background, read our read our initial 3-part #UMemails investigation, starting here.

‘The Fabric Is Torn In Oxford’: UM Officials Decried Racism Publicly, Coddled It Privately…
When I first investigated the #UMemails, multiple sources told me they & others feared retaliation if they spoke out publicly.

Some claimed a "witch hunt" ensued in 2018 after a tape leaked to a reporter that almost revealed the story sooner.…
Multiple sources spoke to us who asked to be anonymous out of fear of retaliation, saying that they had to speak out because a "culture of secrecy" & fear among faculty enabled the continued status quo. Here's Part 3:…
We first broke news that UM was investigating whistleblowers last month—and that ex-journalism dean Will Norton, who resigned when a public records request brought the racist emails to light, continues to earn almost $20k a month—despite not teaching.…
If you support the work we do to hold power & public institutions in Mississippi accountable, please follow @MSFreePress and support paywall free, non-profit journalism at this link:…

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More from @ashtonpittman

14 Dec
A Mississippi mayor who urged defiant Wiggins residents to wear masks has died of COVID-19.

Mayor Joel Miles "faced many (who) felt it unnecessary to wear one. As he was trying to protect others, not everyone did their part to protect him," wrote his…
“When COVID-19 first appeared, I, myself, said some very ignorant things concerning this awful disease," wrote Mayor Joel Miles' widow, Mary. "But I have learned the hard way this is not a hoax. It is real!"…
While some other Republicans in Mississippi pushed COVID-19 conspiracy theories and spoke up against mask mandates, Mayor Miles embraced masks as a public health tool.

When Gov. Reeves ended the statewide mask order, Mayor Miles instituted a local order.…
Read 5 tweets
14 Dec
This is a load of partisan bull.

1. Mississippi—the only state that did not significantly expand voting access (a "scheme," the governor calls it) in the midst of the deadliest pandemic in 100 years—is one of just THREE states (with MO & OK) that did not exceed 2008 turnout.
2. Other states' election systems were not "upended" with "last-minute schemes" to "radically alter voting methods."

Instead, other states made voting more accessible to all, ensuring historic turnout. That's not a "last-minute scheme." That's democracy.
3. But Mississippi did ensure that many poor rural and Black voters in this state remained effectively disenfranchised—and made many risk their safety by voting in person.
Read 15 tweets
13 Dec
NEW: I knew Charley Pride was a trail blazer as the first Black country superstar. But until I started writing this after learning of his death from COVID-19 earlier today, I didn't realize how many incredible his life story was. Some things I learned: 1/…
Charley Pride was born in Sledge, Miss., in 1934—a town of fewer than 350 people. He walked four miles to a segregated grade school each day while white children passed on buses.

He bought his first guitar with money he earned picking cotton. 2/…
Charley Pride became a country radio star even as RCA released singles that didn't include photos of him.

So when he appeared before a crowd of 10,000 white fans in Detroit, their applause quickly turned to stunned silence upon realizing he was Black. 3/…
Read 10 tweets
12 Dec
You'll probably fail if you simply fight for the Democratic Party in the South.

But if you fight for democracy in the South, which is what @staceyabrams did, you'll change America.
If you overcome race-centric disenfranchisement in the South with democracy, it really would change it all.

Even the GOP would have to change or die. Since the 60s, the GOP has relied heavily on the Southern Strategy—appealing to white racism. Without the South, it doesn't work.
If the GOP suddenly had to listen to the needs of Black southerners and other southerners of color in order to have a chance at winning the South (and thus the electoral college), neither the Southern strategy nor Trumpism would work any longer.
Read 9 tweets
11 Dec
The imaginary states of "New California" and "New Nevada" have now joined the GOP effort to overturn the election by disenfranchising the real states of WI, MI, GA & PA.

This gets more coup-coup by the day.
Read 5 tweets
11 Dec
I've received more end-of-year press releases from porn sites (who added me to their press list for some reason) in the past day than there have been town hall meetings held by my congressman, @StevenPalazzo, in the past 10 years.

And that's far more obscene than any porn, imo.
To be clear: I've received 2 end-year-press releases from porn sites in the past day.
Rep. Gene Taylor, the Democrat Palazzo defeated in 2010, regularly held town halls seven times a year when he was a congressman.

And no, exclusive tele-townhalls where callers are screened is no substitute for coming to your district & engaging with your constituents in person.
Read 16 tweets

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