The university’s newly named chancellor, Glenn Boyce, coached football at three so-called “segregation academies,” Madison-Ridgeland Academy, Canton Academy and Tri-County Academy, in the 1980s and 1990s. The information came to light during The Daily Mississippian’s efforts to gain a comprehensive understanding of Boyce’s career in education.
Boyce’s time at Madison-Ridgeland Academy, Canton Academy and Tri-County Academy was not included in the Institutions of Higher Learning’s press releases outlining Boyce’s career experience in education.
When Boyce was working at Madison-Ridgeland Academy, every student at the school was white.
When The Daily Mississippian asked a university spokesperson for a copy of Boyce’s resume, he said it was not “available at the moment.” An IHL spokesperson said that she did not currently have a copy of his resume, but may be able to get one Monday.
The Daily Mississippian, when it learned this information, also asked for an interview with Boyce to understand why he chose to work at these academies and what effect his time there has had on his larger career in education. A university spokesperson said that they would “aim to get back to (the reporter) by early Sunday afternoon.”
On Sunday, after repeated requests, the spokesperson provided a statement that he said could be attributed to Boyce.
“Across 37 years of experience in public and private education at all levels in the state of Mississippi, I stand behind my track record of promoting diversity and supporting students from all walks of life,” the statement said. “I plan to bring that same rigorous approach to benefit all students, faculty, and staff at the University of Mississippi during my time as chancellor. Any suggestion to the contrary is based solely on a selective interpretation of my record and reflects a lack of knowledge about me as an individual. I look forward to the entire campus community getting to know me.”
The statement noted Boyce’s time Holmes Community College, where he worked with a student body made up mostly of African Americans, as well as his hiring of a diverse faculty and staff at the college.
According to recent data from the U.S. census and greatschools.org, nearly all current Tri-County Academy students are white, while the majority of residents in Flora — the town in which the school is located — are nonwhite. Over 75% of Canton residents are nonwhite, but 88% of Canton Academy’s students are white. Madison-Ridgeland Academy is 95% white, while nearly 40% of Madison County residents are nonwhite.
“Segregation academies” are private schools primarily in the South that were founded with the goal of creating all-white schools that could legally deny nonwhite students admission. Most of these academies were founded between Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954 and 1976, when the Runyon v. McCrary case prohibited private schools from discriminating based on race. These schools, however, still remain predominantly white.
Madison-Ridgeland Academy was founded in 1969. Canton Academy and Tri-County Academy were both founded in 1970.
Eliza Noe and Kenneth Niemeyer contributed to the reporting for this article.