Greek leaders develop pledge to keep campus safe

By JB Clark, Ole Miss News; photo via @univmissifc Instagram

Students share why they’re committed to staying safe, encourage others to do the same

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi student leaders are asking the campus and broader community to pledge to keep campus safe this fall and to share their “why” behind the pledge.

Student leaders in the Associated Student Body, Black Student Union, College Panhellenic, Interfraternity Council and Public Education and Awareness Subcommittee came together to create and take the “Are You Ready?” pledge in preparation for the fall semester.

Besides signing their names to the pledge, participants have an opportunity to share their reason for making the commitment.

“With this pledge, we have the opportunity to appeal directly to the loves and passions of the entire LOU community and allow them to focus on what matters most to them,” said ASB President Joshua Mannery, a senior political science and English major from Jackson.

“Whether that’s athletics, friends or even Raising Cane’s, this pledge allows us to identify everything that makes this campus and town so special, and rally behind a shared commitment to protecting our home.”

The pledge states:

  • I pledge to follow health and safety guidelines to protect the university and surrounding communities.
  • I pledge to do my part to protect my health and the health of those around me.
  • I pledge to show respect and compassion for every individual.
  • I pledge to hold others to these same standards.
  • I’m ready to take responsibility for my actions that directly affect the safety of everyone around me.

Following the pledge, students will be asked to answer a final question – their reason for participating – “I pledge to follow safety guidelines and protect the health of my community because …”

“My why for this pledge is the freshmen class,” Mannery said. “As a student leader here at the university, I’ve had the privilege of having three years of normal UM experiences, something unfortunately this class won’t have immediate access to.

“I am pledging to play my part in getting this campus back to normal to make sure the newest additions of this UM family are able to see this campus at its very best as soon as possible.”

Ole Miss students can take the pledge by visiting the “Are You Ready?” pledge page.

Student leaders talked about the UM Creed a lot during their meetings, said Cole Barnhill, a senior management major from Union, Kentucky, and president of the Interfraternity Council.

“Students need a way to take ownership over their actions in this time, and this is a way to say, ‘I’m taking ownership and I’m holding myself and my peers to this standard,’” Barnhill said. “The content of the pledge isn’t revolutionary, but it’s a chance to put a name on the commitment and hope that there is pride behind it.”

Brent Marsh, the university’s dean of students, said he isn’t surprised that this group proactively developed a pledge to encourage fellow students to help keep the campus community safe.

“I’m proud of our student leaders and the dedication they continue to exhibit to our university,” he said. “I think student leaders add incredible value to the life of our university and they’re going to be very instrumental in enlisting the cooperation of their fellow students.”

Students who take the pledge also can find images to share on their social media accounts on the pledge page.