On Oct. 30, The University of Southern Mississippi’s police department (UPD) allegedly intervened in a dispute between audience members during The University of Southern Mississippi’s Homecoming football game, according to university officials.
Dean of Students Eddie Holloway said an elderly individual allegedly became hostile with four crowd members when one occupied his ticket- designated seat.
Holloway said he became involved in the alleged incident.
“I stand or sit near the student section of the stadium during most football games, and I heard a call for police,” Holloway said. “I went to see what the situation was. Upon arrival there were four African-Americans who had purchased tickets but had nudged into one or more seats in that section.”
Holloway said an elderly man then approached the crowd members due to their allegedly occupying his seat.
“I’m sure his season ticket seats were [where] there were family members apparently waiting for him,” Holloway said.
According to Holloway, the elderly man allegedly called the four people “pigs” because they were taking up more than four seats.
“The situation became very emotional with the people that were there becoming angry, rightfully so, that the [elderly man] was not tolerant, was not understanding, was not pleasant and was not encouraging,” Holloway said.
Holloway said he attempted to diffuse the situation by asking the four individuals if he could help them find seats.
“I asked them would they sit with the parents of the homecoming court, [and] they graciously accepted,” Holloway said.
This incident occurred in the wake of the alleged Oct. 1 game incident involving two USM students who claimed they were attacked for refusing to stand during the National Anthem. On Oct. 30, more security officers than usual were stationed in the student section, according to sources.
Holloway said many have become more aware of what goes on in the student section when the Southern Miss Pride marching band performs the National Anthem.
In the first incident, two female African-American students said they chose to sit during the National Anthem in a show of solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement.
The students said their actions caused fans in neighboring seats to harass and throw drinks on them.
The university ruled the incident as accidental.
“I’m sure the public thought [the Oct. 30 incident] was a major issue, but it was diffused by me saying, ‘Hey, come go with me – we can manage this and resolve this,’” Holloway said. “We do all we can.”