A day after news that Chancellor Dan Jones’ contract was not being renewed sparked outrage and calls for details about the decision, Commissioner of Higher Education Jim Borsig released a statement Saturday evening.
Members of the board who voted in favor of non-renewal include Trustees Ed Blakeslee, Karen Cummins, Ford Dye, Shane Hooper, Hal Parker, Aubrey Patterson, Alan Perry, Douglas Rouse and C.D. Smith.
Members who voted against non-renwal include Trustees Bob Owens and Robin Robinson.
Trustee Christine Pickering was absent from the meeting.
Patterson and Perry received their undergraduate degrees from The University of Mississippi. Dye and Rouse are alumni of The University of Mississippi Medical School.
Owens and Robinson, the two trustees who were against non-renewal, did not attend the university.
Borsig’s statement reads as follows:
The meeting of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning and the Chancellor of the University of Mississippi held on Thursday was the culmination of discussions that began prior to his medical diagnosis, were suspended during the Chancellor’s medical leave of absence, and resumed at the request of the Chancellor when he returned to full-time service.
The concerns centered on financial issues at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, over which the Board of Trustees has the constitutional duty to provide fiduciary oversight, as it does for all public universities. However, we want to make it very clear that the Board has no concerns over the personal integrity or honesty of Dr. Jones or any other employee of UMMC.
The Board had discussed these and related concerns with Dr. Jones over a lengthy period of time and these matters were not corrected to the satisfaction of the Board of Trustees. The Board cannot directly manage an institution or replace employees other than the institutional executive officer; therefore, the only practical remedy available to the Board was a change in leadership at the Chancellor level.
It had become clear prior to the March meeting that there was not a majority in favor of contract renewal. The Chancellor was informed that there was no path forward to renewal and that the contract would be allowed to expire on its own terms. He indicated he would not resign or retire.
The motion that was passed in executive session yesterday was:
In light of the fact that the contract of Dr. Jones expires by its own terms on September 14, 2015 and that the Board has not extended the term of that contract, the Commissioner is directed to begin appropriate preparations to conduct a search process for the next Chancellor of the University of Mississippi in accordance with the Board’s policy related to such searches.
- Nine members voted in favor: Trustees Blakeslee, Cummins, Dye, Hooper, Parker, Patterson, Perry, Rouse and Smith
- Two members voted against: Trustees Owens and Robinson
- One member was absent: Trustee Pickering
Dr. Jones has provided strong leadership in many facets of the University of Mississippi during his tenure. However, the Board cannot overlook its longstanding concerns regarding the business and financial affairs at UMMC.
The University of Mississippi is one of the great public universities in our nation. The Board of Trustees is committed to selecting the best possible leader to take the university to even greater levels of achievement.
The Board of Trustees recessed its meeting on Friday until Monday at 4:00 p.m. Members of the Board may participate in the meeting via teleconference. Members of the public and media may attend the meeting in the IHL Board Room, located in the Universities Center, 3825 Ridgewood Road, Jackson, MS 39211. An Executive Session may be held in accordance with the Open Meetings Act.