Belle Hankey

Student at University of Mississippi

“I had never even heard of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, until I had it.”

By: Belle Hankey

University of Mississippi student, Dylan Thomason, is diagnosed with Rocky Mountain spotted fever: an infectious disease that is carried by the American dog tick.

Dylan Thomason found two ticks on his body after a night of camping with his friends. They slept in Eno hammocks outside, had a campfire, and went fishing and hiking. He did not find the ticks until he got home from the trip. Thomason said that he developed symptoms two days after finding the ticks.

“I first noticed I had a swollen lymph node close to area I found the ticks,” said Thomason. “Then my right leg had a lot of muscle soreness and I felt like I had pulled a hamstring. Luckily, I caught it early enough so I didn’t develope a rash or a fever yet.”

Thomason said he went to the doctor’s office and they immediately knew it was Rocky Mountain spotted fever. His blood work was sent off for testing and it came back as a low positive for Rocky Mountain spotted fever and negative for lyme disease. He got put on doxycycline, an antibiotic, for 10 days.

“They were super strong and made me really nauseous,” said Thomason. “I had to take a pill twice a day with food and I couldn’t lay down for about 30 minutes after I took it.”

“Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be difficult to diagnose,” said Dr. Travis W. Yates, the Director at University Health Services at the University of Mississippi . “Three – 10 days after finding a tick bite people usually start to develop flu like symptoms. That is the best way to describe it, a flu like illness.”

The symptoms include a fever, headache, body aches, joint aches and some people get nausea, said Yates. The symptoms are always followed by a rash. The rash is characteristic; it involves the wrists and ankles and spreads to the palms of the hands.

The problem is when you first come in and say you are sick, you don’t have that rash and the blood tests do not always come back immediately positive for it either, so it is hard to get an immediate diagnosis, said Yates.

There is no vaccine to prevent Rocky Mountain spotted fever, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The only way to prevent the disease is to limit your contact with ticks and know where to expect them. Ticks live in grassy, wooded areas and sometimes on animals. A preventative measure is to apply products containing permethrin to your clothing and gear.

Diagnoses of Rocky Mountain spotted fever are generally increasing every year. Mississippi falls in the category of the highest incidence rates in the United States, ranging from 6.6 to 278 cases per million persons, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Although Mississippi falls in the highest category, North Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma account for over 60 percent of diagnoses. 

“I am constantly checking myself for ticks after hearing about a couple people getting Rocky Mountain spotted fever,” said Ole Miss student, Jordan Knight. “In my mind, I feel like every tick carries the disease.”

“Just because you get a tick bite does not mean you have to treat yourself,” said Yates. “A tick bite does not equal a doctor visit. A tick bite followed by symptoms, however, would absolutely be advisable to see a physician.”


Oxford Community Market: Fresh Food Drive



The Oxford City Market is open every Tuesday from at the Community Pavilion. The market is open every Tuesday 3:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. from April to November. The market sells local products such as fruit, vegetables, home made hummus, bread, jams, biscuits and gravy, flowers, coffee, popsicles etc.. The Oxford City Market started in 2013 and has changed locations once from Jackson Avenue to the Community Pavilion.

Vendors set up tables and sell fresh produce at the Oxford City Market, Tuesday. 
Todd Franklin and his father sell fresh produce and molasses at the Oxford City Market, Tuesday. The Franklin family grow the produce and make the molasses at Franklin’s Molasses Farm in Batesville, Mississippi. 
6243755792_IMG_8352 (1).jpg
Mary McGregory sells her fresh, picked blueberries and gives out free samples from Pontotoc Ridge Blueberry Farm, at the Oxford City Market, Tuesday. McGregory has been growing and selling blueberries for 13 years. 


Doug Pepper sells cherry tomatoes at the Oxford City Market, Tuesday. Pepper is the owner of Welcome Valley Farms between Oxford and Batesville right off of Highway 6. He has been growing and selling his produce for 30 years. 
Live music is played by a variety of musicians Tuesday, at the Oxford City Market, at the Community Pavilion in Oxford, Mississippi. 





King of the Camp

By: Belle Hankey, Emily Smith, Rebecca DeLuna

Eight-year-old, Hunter Dickerson plays at the splash pad at Pirate Adventures Camp, in Oxford, Mississippi on Tuesday, June 6, 2017. Credit: Rebecca DeLuna

If you’re a parent looking for a place that keeps your child active, Pirate Adventures Family Fun Center is a place for your child to release energy through fun exercise.  

This pirate-themed oasis is a kid-friendly play arena open seven days a week for children of all ages. The facility offers a range of activities, including outdoor batting cages, a splash pad, obstacle courses and an indoor area full of three themed private party rooms, four inflatable bounce houses, prizes and a multitude of arcade games. Pirate Adventures provides birthday parties, open play, and a summer camp program.

Owner, Missy Dickerson, opened Pirate Adventures Summer Camp in 2016 because she had the resources and facility to do so. Dickerson did so with the goal of providing a safe environment for children to stay active in Oxford.

“We have stuff for them to exercise, we have stuff for them to be able to play in and it just adds another opportunity in the community for the kids to come out and do something,” Dickerson said.

During the end of May, the facility transforms into an intimate summer camp for children ages 4-12. The camp averages anywhere from 5 to 10 children daily, which allows campers to make friends easily.

Nine-year-old, Shelby Vitry slides through a bounce house tunnel at Pirate Adventures Camp in Oxford, Mississippi on Tuesday, June 6, 2017. Credit: Rebecca DeLuna

Anabelle Pannel met her best friend, Shelby Vitry, at camp three weeks ago. She had only known Shelby one week when she declared her as her best friend.

“Shelby is so nice and always asks me to play with her, even on my first day of camp,” Pannel said.

The camp activities consist of arts and crafts, science and math education, a variety of indoor and outdoor games, community projects, inflatable bounce houses, movie time, and a fully-equipped arcade.

Parents can register for summer camp online. The cost is $35 per day, or $175 per week, lunch is offered daily, and includes snacks.

Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 1.55.55 PM.png
Five-year-old, Barnaby Holmes eats at clementine during snack time at Pirate Adventures Camp in Oxford, Mississippi on Tuesday, June 13, 2017. Credit: Belle Hankey

“We try and alternate what we serve, but most of the kids they want pizza every day. So you know we give them the opportunity to have pizza, nuggets, corn dogs, hot dogs, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, ham and cheese sandwiches, and they choose pizza,” Dickerson said.

The camp is 10 weeks long, offered Monday to Friday. Pirate Adventure summer camp began on Monday, May 22 and ends on Friday, August 4. Every week there is a new theme, which correlates with the daily activities.

The themes range from learning about the culture and history of different decades to learning about and exploring outer space. The activities and crafts that the children do are based on the themes for that particular week.

“This week we are doing outer space, so learning about Earth, the sun, how and why the sun is a star and stuff like that, said Jordan Gatlin, the camp counselor at Pirates Adventures.”

The week of June 26-30 focuses on science, and the children will be participating in multiple experiments. For example they will learn how to make their own paint. Gatlin is excited for the children to see how different things combine together and how things are able to change color and composition.

Gatlin said she wanted to help the children give back to the community. Gatlin leads projects that various age groups can participate in.

“Two weeks ago we had the children write letters to soldiers, and so a friend of mine’s dad just left last Saturday and we wrote letters to him and they drew pictures and wrote for him,” said Gatlin. “Then they were sent to him and of course, it brightened his day and I think he took them with him.”

Hunter Dickerson, an 8-year-old camper, enjoys the outdoor water activities the most, because splashing in the water is his favorite summer activity.

“My favorite thing at camp is the splash pad. Especially when it’s a hot day because I get to play with my friends, slide down the slide and play in the water,” Dickerson said.

Pirate Adventure Camp accommodates working parents allowing them to drop off their child before camp or stay after for an additional five dollars per hour. 

To learn more information about the camp visit Pirate Adventures Family Fun Center in Oxford, Mississippi is a privately owned and operated entertainment center for kids, located at 726 Highway 6 West in Oxford. They can be contacted at 662-238-3505.

Students Trading in Their Diplomas for a Marriage License #ringbyspring

by: Belle Hankey

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 12.19.30 PM.pngRing by spring. The act of couples in their senior year of college are getting engaged, before graduation: trading in their diploma for a marriage license.  

“I always wanted to meet my future husband during college and get married shortly after,” said Kitty Priver, a senior at Ole Miss from Southaven, Mississippi.

Priver got engaged Oct. 16, 2016 during her last year at Ole Miss and is getting married on Sept. 9, 2017. Kitty and her fiancé had been dating for two and a half years before he popped the question.

“I think that they want all of their friends to be there to celebrate them,” said Meredith Parker, an Ole Miss senior. “Because once we graduate and leave, not all of your friends are consolidated to one place.”

School work and Wedding Planning

Taylor-Alice McWilliams got engaged in the Grove in April, 2016. She graduated from Ole Miss in May, and the wedding was January 7, 2017 at Paris Yates Chapel on campus. The couple had the summer and fall to plan their wedding.

15002320_10154223489375817_2522466271382888804_o.jpg“I wouldn’t change being married right out of college for anything. I wasn’t in school so that made it all much easier,” said McWilliams. “We planned to get married in Oxford, which is 3 hours from both of our home towns. Not being in school allowed me to travel whenever
it was needed to make wedding arrangements.”

Taylor-Alice met her now husband for the first time, when he was working as a bouncer at the Levee on the square. Mutual friends introduced them. Later when taking e
ngagement photos, they decided to take one in front of the Levee.

Priver said it was not as stressful as you would think to plan a wedding and go to school at the same time.

“I have my mom to thank for that,” said Priver. “It is just nothing but school and wedding things all the time.”  

“I think that ‘ring by spring’ is a real concept,  people want to get engaged before they graduate,” said Parker. “But I do not think it is realistic to juggle a wedding and getting a diploma.”

Emily Jameson is an Ole Miss senior and bridesmaid to her best friend Abbie, who is a senior at Auburn. Abbie dated her boyfriend for two years, before he popped the question. They got engaged October of her senior year.

“There is so much work that goes into a wedding, it’s been fun helping with all of the planning along the way,” said Jameson. “But it’s also very expensive, so far we have thrown Abbie a bridal shower, I have to fly to her bachelorette party, and I have paid for the bridesmaid dress I am wearing. She’s been very generous and understanding, but it’s still pricy.”


“I always wanted to have a candlelight just to be able to share that moment with my sorority sisters,” said McWilliams. “Come to find out, once I got engaged, I was so excited that I couldn’t even keep it a secret to make my candlelight a surprise. I got engaged on a Sunday afternoon and everyone knew by Monday night that the candlelight at chapter was for me. It was still fun, nonetheless.”

A candlelight is a ceremony held by a sorority, to announce that one of your sisters has gotten engaged. The newly engaged is supposed to keep her engagement a secret, from her chapter, but tell the president who plans the event. When the chapter next meets, they have the candlelight. The entire sorority circles, and passes a lit candle around the circle until the woman who is engaged blows the candle out. Then the newly engaged usually goes into the middle of the circle and tells the story of her engagement.

“I think a candle light is a traditional thing, it’s a fun secret things that you get to do with your sisters that everyone kind of looks forward to, but I don’t think its 15,000 dollars worth,” said Parker. “I think a big part of getting engaged, is the guy having enough responsibility to pay for the ring on his own and if you do the ‘ring by spring’ it’s rare that the boy will be able to afford the ring and afford a wedding, on his own.”

“I’m so in love with my boyfriend and I would say yes to him tomorrow, but I also know that we have a lot more maturing and growing to do,” said Jameson. “I think if we continue growing in our relationship, I would absolutely want to marry him, but I feel no pressure to have a candle light. We’re both religious so I trust Him in seeking God over our future and whenever that timing is, I’ll be happy with that.”

Jameson said she thinks it is a goal of a lot of girls at Ole Miss to get their ring by spring. They want the perfect proposal pics, engagement parties, and all the fun parts of a wedding and the excitement of a future with a man they love.

“However, something I’ve learned from the wedding I’m in is it’s planning a marriage,” said Jameson. “If you’re really ready you’re planning a life together, not a wedding or candlelight. You need to make sure you are mature enough to love this person as a spouse versus a best friend or boyfriend/girlfriend.”

“Marriage shouldn’t have a ticking clock attached to it.”

“I think ring by spring is applicable to girls at Ole Miss, because I feel like people are so rushed to get married and have kids at such a young age,” said Kara Rose, an Ole Miss Junior and Oxford native. “They feel like if they don’t find a guy in college, then they will never get married and they don’t realize how young they are before they graduate.”

According to Pew Research Center, among 18 to 29 – year – old’s who are not currently married and have no children, 70% say they want to get married now.

After only a couple months of dating, McWilliams new she was going to marry her now husband, Dustin and he proposed after only 11 months of dating.

“In May of 2015, we started officially dating. We knew by that summer we were going to get married,” said McWilliams. “I can’t even begin to explain how easy and perfect things fell into place.”

“Getting married isn’t about getting married at a certain time and I think that relationships are all different, so they should not all be set to a specific time and be rushed,” said Leland Graeber, a senior at Ole Miss. “If you are together forever, why rush it? Marriage shouldn’t have a ticking clock attached to it.”

“I feel that maybe people from the south get engaged sooner, but I don’t think there is much of a difference,” said Priver. “Southern or not, I can’t wait to marry my best friend.”

There is a stigma with the south, as being known to get married younger, but according to research done by The Daily Dot, Utah is the state with the youngest average marriage age for both men and women. Women being 23.8 and men at the age of 25.9.

Popping the Question

Taylor-Alice McWilliams walked into the Grove with her then boyfriend, thinking they were going to eat breakfast on a warm sunday morning. As she got closer to the stage she saw that there was an Ole Miss blanket on the ground, pictures hung on the columns of the two of them, and a table with a book for her on it, it said “Our Adventure Book.”

Taylor-Alice flipped through the book, and the last line in the adventure book said “…I think you know what it’s time for, so turn around and become my forever.” She turned 12991036_10153739633625817_5942562399674209728_n.jpgaround to find him down on one knee, holding the ring up to her.  After sliding the ring onto her naked finger, he pointed out to the Grove trees, where all of her friends and
family were, waiting to celebrate the news.

“There was chalk written on the stage in  ‘Mr and Mrs McWilliams”’and ‘January 7, 2017.’” said McWilliams. “Yes, we picked our date before he proposed.”


An outlet people have found to express the term ‘ring by spring’ is on social media, especially Twitter, whether it be in support of the phrase or not. The phrase is not only posted on personal pScreen Shot 2017-05-09 at 12.43.54 PM.pngages where people are sarcastically venting about their singleness and crossing out the word ring and replace it with puppy, or by couples bragging about their engagement with photos and mushy love quotes. It is also an phrase that companies are using in order to sell their product. For example The Cake Pop Shop started to use the hashtag, #ringbyspring to promote their dessert treats. 

“Ring by spring is a real term,” said Leland Graeber. “Whether it is something you support personally or not, it will always her here and something women dream about.”

Oxford Celebrates Record Store Day with Live Music

The End Of All Music record store will be hosting an event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Record Store Day on April 22, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m..

The event will be held at the store with free beer, live music from featured artists, food, exclusive merchandise and limited edition releases.

It is The End Of All Music’s  sixth year participating in the festivities. The store is partnering up with Muscle Beach Records and Fat Possum Records to put on the event.

“It’s the biggest day of the year for us,” said David Swider, the owner of The End Of All Music. “This year specifically because of the 10-year anniversary.”

Muscle Beach Records started their label in the spring of 2016. Since they have only been around for about a year, this will be their first time participating in Record Store Day festivities.  

According to Graham Hamaker, one of the owners of Muscle Beach Records, they are expecting a few hundred people to attend the event throughout the day.

“There’s a mad rush for the first couple of hours and then it gets more chill,” said Swider. “Then we get to hang out with customers and friends.”

The event will be held in the The End Of All Music’s parking lot, with live music all afternoon, discounted records, food from Smoke Shop and Cookout Catering, Heartbreak Coffee and free beer brewed by James Kelleway from Confit Web Design.

The set list of performers for the event consist of: Swear Tapes (Jim Solo), Graham, Nadir Bliss, Him Horrison, Killer Dale and Starman Jr..

“We put together a compilation tape of Muscle Beach tunes that we released this last year, and the B side of that tape is all unreleased material exclusively written for the tape, for the most part. And we’re proud of it, so we’re really excited to finally let people hear it,” said Hamaker.

Record Store Day is a celebratory day to appreciate the culture surrounding record stores arounds the world, according to It began in 2007 when independent record store owners and employees gathered to celebrate the approximately 1,400 independently owned record stores in the United States and the thousands of stores internationally.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what limited edition releases they have and what other titles they are going to have that day,” said Breanna Black, an Ole Miss senior and Oxford native. “I know some artists do releases exclusively for record store day, which I think is really cool.”

College Radio will be hosting their 2nd annual Vinylthon on April 22, where college radio stations can register for free. The stations will post their playlists consisting of vinyl record hits and pictures of their vinyl collections using #vinylthon on different social media platforms.

The End Of All Music will be selling their own limited-edition cassette tape and koozie package. The cassette tape has over 20 songs recorded with Muscle Beach Records, said Swider. It is compiled of some of the greatest hits from the past and the future.

Little Big Store, in Raymond, Mississippi celebrates record store day every year and is going to have a little celebration with drinks and cookies, said owner Betty Strachan.

“We sell records, and are probably the biggest record store in Mississippi,” said Strachan. “So we have the goods.”

By: Emily Smith and Belle Hankey

Parking Commission Discussed Parking Garages


Parking garages is the answer to the lack of parking in the Ole Miss and the Oxford community. The Parking Commission met on friday morning to discuss the benefits, pricing and logistics of the new parking garage on campus and the potential parking garage on the Square.

Although the parking commission’s meeting did not meet quorum, the officials discussed the future actions of a new parking garage on the Square. In order for executive action there must be five members of the board in attendance.

The new parking garage on campus is predicted to be open in August, and parking passes will be sold to students this summer. The garage will offer 1,532 new spots. Students with passes to the lot will not have assigned spots, but will be guaranteed to have a spot to park within the garage according to the director of the Department of Parking and Transportation at Ole Miss, Mike Harris.

The total cost of building the new garage on campus $29.5 million.

“It’s about time we got more parking,” said Ole Miss student Kaitlyn Collins. “If you ask any student on campus what their biggest daily problem is, it’s finding parking.”

“It’s what we all need, the way the University is growing, every time you build a building, your building it on top of a parking lot, so we continue to lose parking and add students,” said Harris. “We have to have garages, garages is the only way to position yourself around the campus and get to the buildings.”

The Oxford Parking Commission Board, has been discussing to option of building a parking garage on the Square. The garage would displace 236 parking spots. The construction would start in January and the process would take a year, with the completion of the garage in January, 2019.

“It goes very quickly, when they start putting it together, it goes very quickly,” said Harris. “It’s just like a lego record set, it just comes together piece by piece.”

For decades the Square has had parking meters, and used different companies to run them. Four years ago the meter system went in house, according to Mayor Pat Patterson. The clerks and teller have free parking and the meter parking for customers of the Square.

“As an employee on the Square, I know it something that extremely needed,” said Leland Graeber, an employee at Jones At Home Interiors. “It’s frustrating when you have to pay for parking while your working.”

During the construction period, customers and employees are going to have to find alternative parking. According to Graeber it will be worth the period of walking to work, rather than paying for parking every day.

“If we can get a garage on the Square like the one already built on campus; I think the community could be pretty well served,” said Mayor Patterson.


The Rising Cost of a College Graduation

Tuition: $37,874.00

Diploma: $50.00

Cap and Gown: $48.50

Graduating in the Grove with your colleagues: Priceless?

After four years of tuition, parking tickets, health center visits and miscellaneous fees, your last moments at Ole Miss should be priceless. If only this were true.

Undergraduate students are required to purchase their diploma for $50, according to Sandra Kennedy, Ole Miss graduate assistant. The money goes towards printing and shipping the diploma. A student’s diploma will be placed on a hold and not received in the mail until all additional fees are paid.

These fees include tickets from parking and transportation, tuition costs, the graduation fee, library dues, and other miscellaneous fees on your bursar account.

If a student fails to order their cap and gown before the deadline, April 22, 2017 then they will be charged with an additional $50 fine.

“I’ve already paid a lot of money to this school. And this is just another way for them to get as much as they can while they can. Along with many other additional fees, the cap and gown fee just adds up,” said Dylan Thomason, a student graduating in May.

Class rings, yearbooks, Graduation announcements and invitations, Graduation photoshoot packages, Graduation parties, catered parties, hair and nails, and other assets add onto the other mandatory costs.

Although these purchases aren’t required, they still feel necessary for some students.

Lauren Killion, a senior at Ole Miss, is renting out The University Club with over 100 people attending. The total cost of the venue is $2,300, and food is $35 a person, and there’s a cash bar.

The standard food buffet consists of a chicken and fish entree, two sides, salad, rolls, and dessert.

Unfortunately though, not every undergraduate student  feels that a big party is necessary.

“ My last hoorah as a college student is definately going to be a catered Jinsei party at my apartment with my entire family. That’s really all I want,” said Scarlett Chapman, a senior at Ole Miss.

Many graduates will resort to catering, because restaurants like Boure, St. Leo, and Proud Larry’s.  

Other restaurants, like Gus’s Fried Chicken will cater graduation parties, consisting of usually 20 to 50 people per party.

“We get a lot of graduation party orders, it’s our second busiest time of the year. Right behind football season,” said Derrick Willingham, Assistant Manager of Gus’s Fried Chicken.

Willingham suggested the family meal, which allow 3 pieces of chicken per person, or 60 to 75 pieces of chicken and sides for $160 for a party of 20 people.

Jinsei, a popular restaurant in Oxford, caters for parties, events and most importantly Graduation.

Jake Loyer, Assistant Manager at Jinsei, said that there isn’t a rental fee, but it does cost a minimum of $750 to have a fully catered Graduation party at the restaurant. The pricing overall though depends on the size of the party.

South Depot has catered events with people from anywhere from 30 to 280 people.

“ A lot of people get our chicken and steak taco bar. This Includes the meet, rice, black beans, cheese, lettuce, salsa, pico, sour cream, flour tortilla and chips”, said Ross Polancich, manager at South Depot.

It’s $8.99 per person, which amounts to about three tacos a person.

Polancich said they already have three big parties booked and that they exepect more as Graduation nears.

By: Belle Hankey and Emily Smith

Is Commencement at Ole Miss pricele$$?

Tuition: $37,874.00

Diploma: $50.00

Cap and Gown: $48.50

Graduating in the Grove with your colleagues: Priceless?

After four years of tuitions, parking tickets, health center visits and miscellaneous fees, your last moments at Ole Miss should be priceless. If only this were true.

Undergraduate students are required to purchase their diploma for $50, according to Sandra Kennedy, Ole Miss graduate assistant. The money goes towards printing and shipping the diploma. A student’s diploma will be placed on a hold and not received in the mail until all additional fees are paid.

These fees include tickets from parking and transportation, tuition costs, the graduation fee, library dues, and other miscellaneous fees on your bursar account.

After walking across the stage, students are required to return their gowns. According to the R.M. Hendrick Graduate Supplies, the cap costs $22 on its own, meaning you’re paying double the price of what your get to keep.

If a student fails to order their cap and gown before the deadline, April 22, 2017 then they will be charged with an additional $50 fine.

“I’ve already paid a lot of money to this school,” said Dylan Thomason, a student graduating in May. “And this is just another way for them to get as much as they can while they can.”

This; however, is not the view of all students.

“Afters the thousands and thousands of dollars I’ve paid to this school, I’m not going to complain about another 100, ” said Carly Owen a student at Ole Miss.  

“Along with many other additional fees, the cap and gown fee just adds up,” said Thomason.

Class rings, yearbooks, Graduation announcements and invitations, Graduation photoshoot packages, and other assets add onto the other mandatory costs.

Although these purchases aren’t required, they still feel necessary for some students.

Unfortunately though, not every undergraduate student can afford any additional keepsakes. If one were to order 15 invitations from Minted, the lowest price is $44.

“I want to have a professional photoshoot in the grove with all of my sorority sisters before Graduation. It’s extremely expensive, but it will be memorable for all of us,” said Betsy Flickinger a senior at Ole Miss.

“Everything has fee’s now a days,” said Joy Rowsey, a senior staff assistant. “That’s just life.”


By: Belle Hankey and Emily Smith

Laying Off Lab Rats

Ryan Merkley, the director of research advocacy for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine will give a lecture on Thursday about his beliefs on alternative methods for animal experimentation.

The lecture, “Imagining Laboratories Without Animals,” is co-sponsored by the Office of Sustainability. It will be held this Thursday at 4:00 p.m. in Bryant Hall.

The lecture will discuss animal experimentation and the efforts to move away from the practice. Merkley, an animal welfare advocate will also discuss where progress has been made in this area, and the areas where it is still needed. He will do so by observing the ethical, legal, and scientific infrastructures involved in this process.

“When I talk about experimentation, I talk about basic research,” said Merkley. “When it comes to the use of animals in labs, there are many different ways in which that takes shape. I often lecture on issues related to animal law, federal regulations, and animals for medical training.”

Kenneth Sufka, a professor of Psychology, Pharmacology and Philosophy at Ole Miss, has been doing animal experimentation for over 25 years. He uses standard animals, mainly rats and mice. Animal research at the University is done to help understand more about human suffering and how it can be alleviated.

“We believe we are doing justifiable biological research,” said Sufka.

“Animal research occurs across the state, at this university, at our medical center, animal research goes on at mississippi state even,” said Sufka. “Some of this research is geared to helping animals live happier better lives, some of it is geared towards transitional work that may affect human clinical syndromes.”

The organization tries to come up with alternatives to animal testing. They are big advocates for using computer model rather than animal testing, according to Neil Manson, an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Mississippi. Trying to minimize the point of elimination for these animals.

Up until 2015 Merkley and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine made efforts to convince the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, to stop using pigs in order to teach medical experiments.

According to Merkley, Ole Miss was one of the last medical schools in the country to stop using pigs for teaching.

“I do think it important that people conducting animal research, be very mindful of the ethical issues that broadly affect how people view and use animals in a wide variety of settings,” said Sufka.

Within Mississippi there is animal experimentation according to Manson, at places such as the pharmacy school and The University of Mississippi Medical Center.

The laboratories at Ole Miss expertise is building valid animal model simulation, to screen drugs for potential use in humans according to Sufka. The animal model doesn’t mirror anything about a human.

Professor Manson hoped to structure the event as an open discussion forum for the opposing sides of animal experimentation; however, it is

“I am a big fan of finding common ground,” said Merkley. “I like to use specific examples for people and I’ll be doing that on Thursday.”


By: Belle Hankey and Emily Smith

Blog at

Up ↑