Friday, July 30, 2021

‘I Did Not Hire Myself’: UM Chancellor Addresses Pressing Concerns

By Anna Grace Usery and Talbert Toole
Editor-in-Chief, Lifestyles Editor
anna.grace.usery@hottytoddy.com, talbert.toole@hottytoddy.com

After the IHL’s public announcement was canceled today, IHL Vice President Ford Dye and newly-chosen UM Chancellor Glenn Boyce spoke with the media via phone call this afternoon to discuss Boyce’s new appointment. Dye began by addressing community concerns regarding the IHL’s search process.

The IHL and the University of Mississippi announced Friday Dr. Glenn Boyce as the new chancellor. Photo courtesy of mississippi.edu.

Dye said last year the board agreed that the best approach would be to develop a chancellor profile of what their constituencies valued within the Ole Miss family.

“The board enlisted our former commissioner Glenn Boyce for help developing that profile,” Dye said.

After gaining input from Ole Miss students, faculty and staff he “stepped aside,” he said.

After community members sent nominations to Martin Baker of Buffkin/Baker, the firm tasked with spearheading the national search, he reached out to the nominees to instruct them how to apply. 

“Dr. Glenn Boyce received more nominations in that nomination process than anybody else,” Dye said.

Initially, Boyce declined the invitation to apply. However, Dye said as the process continued it became clear that he met the profile better than anyone else in the search.

“When I sat down and started thinking about the challenges and what I could do to help the university, (my decision to become chancellor) became personal very quickly,” Boyce said.

His Ole Miss story began in 1978 when he drove 1,300 miles from upstate New York to because the woman on the other end of the phone said, “Trust me.” He went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in education from Ole Miss and returned for a doctorate in educational leadership.

Boyce’s original role in the search process was as a consultant to gauge community opinions regarding the university’s 18th chancellor. He said he was paid roughly $87,000 by the university for his services. Critics argued that Boyce essentially hired himself because he led the search.

“I didn’t hire myself. The Board of Trustees hired me,” he said. “Once I completed my work—which was completed before the search ever started—I was finished.”

Boyce visited with the IHL Thursday, Oct. 3 to interview for the chancellor position and was offered the job on the spot. The other candidates involved in the search were not afforded the same luxury.

Dye confirmed there were multiple candidates who did not appear before the Campus Search Advisory Committee (CSAC). He said the rules and process clearly state the search committee is and was allowed to skip certain steps if they deemed those steps unnecessary.

“Our policy allows us that if the board deems necessary to bypass the CSAC process,” Dye said.

The new chancellor said he’s glad to be home and focus on ending his career at an “amazing” institution.

“(The university has) great things going on, and I’m looking forward to seeing if we can take it to new heights and push it to new levels,” he said.

As a lifetime academic, he said his loyalty lies with the students.

“First and foremost, I’ve always been a student-centered individual,” Boyce said. “I will be incredibly engaged with our students, highly visible with our students. I look forward to our students being to most creative innovative students.”

However, one of the first questions he addressed was the student protestors who attended the IHL’s announcement Friday at the Inn at Ole Miss. He said he understood and recognized the students exercised the First Amendment and their freedom of expression.

“It’s also important at some point when we have civil discourse and conversation and the venue requires respect that we eventually come around to that respect as well so the venue itself can conduct its business,” Boyce said.

Although protestors voices carried through the atrium and ballroom at the Inn Friday, Boyce said he has received “tremendous support” from his constituents.

“There is a lot of division in the Ole Miss family right now,” Dye said. “We felt like the best thing to do was to get Dr. Boyce on board as soon as possible to unify the Ole Miss family.”


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