An amendment proposing that the Faculty Senate deliver a vote of no confidence in both the Institutions of Higher Learning and Glenn Boyce was resoundingly voted down at Tuesday night’s Faculty Senate meeting. That doesn’t mean it’s out of the question.
The amendment, proposed by assistant professor of history Zachary Guthrie, was defeated by a 42-1 vote; he was the only senator in support of it. However, during discussion of Guthrie’s amendment, multiple senators said that his amendment would be more appropriate as a resolution of its own. Guthrie believes a stand-alone resolution calling for a vote of no confidence in the IHL would have support among both the faculty, and the faculty senate.
“Certainly other faculty members I’ve talked to have been supportive,” Guthrie said. “Within the senate, it’s hard for me to say. I think I got the sense after the meeting that there were a number of senators who would support a resolution that the IHL is not forthcoming, which I don’t think many people expect them to be.”
Guthrie’s amendment was proposed amid discussion of a resolution introduced by Faculty Senate Secretary Brice Noonan, which called on the IHL to provide a “complete and detailed timeline of the recently completed search for the next chancellor of the University of Mississippi.” After amendments passed clarifying language and timelines for when the body expects to receive the information, the resolution passed the senate 44-2. The resolution calls for an IHL response by Oct. 15 at 5 p.m.
Guthrie introduced the no confidence amendment because he believes the IHL won’t comply with their demands for clarification on the process.
“(The IHL) has shown enough disregard for the stakeholders of this university that there isn’t a need to wait for more information,” Guthrie said. “I see that as very unlikely to be productive, and therefore I think it would be more advantageous to speak quickly and register our opposition to the way that they conducted this sooner rather than later.”
He added that while the amendment was defeated, there are plans to introduce a stand-alone resolution calling for a vote of no confidence at an “extraordinary meeting” next week.
Noonan, author of the resolution that passed the senate, said he introduced it because he sought to gather more information before “going straight to something more dramatic and drastic.”
“I felt we needed a bit more information from them to understand the process that they’d gone through, whether there was a process that they went through. I’d like for them to be able to clear up some of the lingering questions that really caused a lot of ire on campus,” Noonan said. He echoed Guthrie in that there is demonstrable support on campus for a vote of no confidence in the IHL, but not in Boyce.
“I see a lot of placards that say ‘Boyce is not my choice’ and I understand that sentiment, but I haven’t seen his resume,” Noonan said. “I was on the search committee and I’ve never seen his application so I don’t know his qualifications.”
Before the floor opened for discussion on Noonan’s resolution, both Interim Chancellor Larry Sparks and Provost Noel Wilkin gave presentations to the body. Sparks told the senate that Saturday, Oct. 12 would be his last day as interim chancellor, signaling that Boyce will take over on the 13th. Sparks will be returning to the Lyceum as Vice Chancellor of Administration and Finance, the title he held before assuming the interim position.
Wilkin was in attendance to brief the senate on the current state of the campus. He led with comments on the hire of Boyce.
“I believe he has the ability to successfully lead our university and look forward to working with him,” Wilkin said. “In my conversations with Dr. Boyce, he has no interest in re-litigating or re-fighting the battles that have moved the university forward. He recognizes that the (Confederate) monument is in a process, and at this stage, we have to let the process play out. At this point, it is out of the university’s hands.”