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Protestors Stall Formal Public Announcement of New Chancellor

By Alyssa Schnugg, Anna Grace Usery, Julia Peoples
News editor, editor-in-chief, intern

Video by Gene Crunk

A planned press conference for midday Friday where IHL and University of Mississippi leaders were set to announce the selection of Dr. Glenn Boyce as the university’s new chancellor was cut short after UPD Chief Ray Hawkins called it off due to safety issues.

Hawkins could barely be heard over chants from protestors, “IHL, What the hell?” and “Boyce not our choice” when he announced the press conference was canceled.

An hour later the IHL released a press release on its website announcing Boyce as the new chancellor.

While the official word didn’t come from the university and IHL until about 1 p.m., several news outlets had started posting rumors about Boyce’s selection around dinner time Thursday.

Reactions were strong and varied. Some were pleased with Boyce’s selection, while others were very displeased with how the selection was made, and others were hopeful that while the process was “messed up,” Boyce wasn’t the worst choice IHL could have made.

Pat Patterson, businessman and former mayor of Oxford said he has known Boyce to be a good man with a heart for Ole Miss.

“With that said, there sure seems to be a lot of disappointment from many people in the way the process was handled,” he said.

Max Hill, Oxford resident said it was time to get rid of the politically-motivated hires.

“Our colleges and universities should have the autonomy to make their own employment decisions,” he said. “It is past time to send the IHL to the scrap heap of history.”

Hayes Dent, a concerned alumnus close to the IHL process, said the narrative currently portrayed in the media is false.

“Boyce was hired by the Foundation to interact with students, faculty and staff. His contract was with the Foundation. He had nothing to do with interviewing candidates,” he said. 

Hayes said he’d spoken to more than 30 alumni from around the state who were excited about Boyce’s appointment.

“They’re great. We have a leader again.”

When the IHL requested recommendations from the community, Hayes said that the candidate with the most was Boyce.

“The university needs some leadership right now,” Hayes said. “We’ve got people doing obscene things on Twitter. The university newspaper uses the word ‘bullshit’ in the headline. Why are those in the Lyceum allowing this?”

“The main thing I want him to do is move the kids out of the north endzone,” he said.

“Academic freedom means everyone can do what they like as long it’s respectful of other people,” he said.

Another alumna Christine Dickason disagreed with Hayes and feels students, faculty and alumni should be more involved with the process.

“I am extremely concerned that IHL’s vision for the University does not include student, faculty or alumni perspectives,” she said. “The predominately white and male board seems more interested in placating the good ol’ boy network in Mississippi than doing what’s the best interests of the University and its students.”

Alex Watson, research and instruction librarian and associate professor, attended the press conference holding a sign that read, “Welcome Chancellor Umbridge,” which pays homage to Harry Potter’s Dolores Umbridge, an evil witch who takes over the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

“We are seeing someone appointed to lead the university through a corrupt and opaque process that didn’t ask the opinion of any stakeholders ‑ any student, any faculty, any staff,” he said. “It’s impossible to separate a corrupt process from a corrupt outcome. It doesn’t matter who it is.” 

Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill. Who served as co-chairman of the Search Advisory Committee said she is hopeful that Boyce will be the leader the LOU community needs.

“The search process did not work as I thought and hoped,” she said. “As mayor of Oxford, my goal is to move the community and University I love forward, and that is what I intend to do. The city of Oxford and the University of Mississippi succeed together and struggle together. I look forward to hearing Dr. Boyce’s plans and vision for the future of Ole Miss.

“I am confident in the strength of our community, the solidarity of the Ole Miss Family, the future of our University, and the opportunity to share our positive story with the world. We will work together to support Dr. Boyce to insure our joint success, and I encourage the community, faculty, staff and alumni to do the same. We are stronger together.”





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