Ole Miss hopes debate will show bad old days are gone





OXFORD, MISS. -- For the University of Mississippi, Friday's debate is about more than presidential politics: Officials hope it also helps combat what may be one of the most enduring public relations problems in American higher education.

They know that for many Americans, Ole Miss means little more than the deadly 1962 riot sparked by the matriculation of the first black student, James Meredith, and the 1990s-era controversy over the display of the Confederate flag at football games.

But if the debate goes off as planned, it will provide the 160-year-old school with the opportunity to show, once and for all, that it has moved beyond its old, infamous and self-destructive reputation as a bastion of white supremacy.

First, of course, the school will have to wait and see if the debate takes place...

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