Racial Separation in Dormitory Assignments at Ole Miss

A study conducted by the housing department at the University of Mississippi found widespread racial separation in several campus dormitories.

Blacks make up about 13 percent of the undergraduate student body at Ole Miss. Yet the housing study found that on two floors of the Martin residence hall there were no blacks whatsoever. In the Stockard residence hall, white students made up more than 90 percent of all residents on eight of the dormitory’s 10 floors.

Ole Miss officials say that race is not a factor in room assignments. However, they concede that there are several factors that produce a degree of racial separation in some dormitories. First, students can choose to room with a friend whom they knew before coming to campus. Typically, freshmen who decide to room together at Ole Miss are of the same race.

Also, white students tend to commit to enrolling at Ole Miss earlier than black students. Rooms are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

Therefore, white students tend to fill up many of the most desired dormitories before many of their black classmates commit to enroll at Ole Miss. Black students may wait longer to commit to Ole Miss as they seek more favorable financial offers from competing institutions. When black students finally decide to enroll, most, if not all, of the rooms in the most sought-after dormitories have already been taken.