OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA) - Three Ole Miss students have been suspended from their fraternity after a photo surfaced of them posing with guns in front of a civil rights marker that honors Emmett Till, reports the Mississippi Center For Investigative Reporting.
According to the non-profit news organization, one of the students posted the photo to his private Instagram account in March.
Emmett Louis Till | Photo: MGN Online
The photo shows the trio posing in front of the bullet-ridden sign which marks the location where Till’s body was removed from the Tallahatchie River.
Till, 14, was tortured and murdered in 1955 after he was accused of whistling at a white woman. His body was later dumped in the river.
The sign has a history of vandalism, and it's unclear if the three people in the photo fired at the sign.
Ole Miss spokesman Rod Guajardo issued the following statement.
"This image and the actions portrayed in the photo of this off-campus incident are offensive and hurtful.
The university learned of this image in March through a report to its Bias Incident Response Team and referred the matter to the University Police Department. UPD reported the image to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which reported back to UPD that it declined to investigate further because the photo did not pose a specific threat.
While the image is offensive, it did not present a violation of university code of conduct. It occurred off campus and was not part of a university-affiliated event.
We support the actions made by the Kappa Alpha Order leadership in suspending the students involved, and we are aware that this decision is backed by its National Administrative Offices. We stand ready to assist the fraternity with educational opportunities for those members and the chapter.
The University of Mississippi will continue to build programs that engage our students in deliberate, honest and candid conversations while making clear that we unequivocally reject attitudes that do not respect the dignity of each individual in our community."
The FBI told WTVA they did not have a comment about the situation.
Editor's Note: At the time of publication, WTVA did not have permission to use the Instagram photo of the three men.