From the mid-semester resigning of former Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter, we’ve been anxious to see who our next leader will be. I was proud to see that there were formal steps being taken to properly nominate and vet candidates. That pride was quickly shot down.
The actions of the Institutions of Higher Learning were a slap in the face to every single person at this university. At the end of the day, we were intentionally misled to believe that the time we spent indulging our resources in search committees and listening sessions were for nothing important.
For those of you who may not understand the severity of the situation or why they should care about it, let me make it very clear: This affects you.
Given the frequency of student activism at the university, I understand why students may feel jaded. It may seem as though some things are worth just letting go for the sake of creating a more cordial campus climate. This is not one of those instances. This time is different.
In fact, this is one of those rare occurrences where students of all corners of the university all agree: We have been wronged and IHL needs to be held accountable for the harm they have caused to the state of education in Mississippi.
Even beyond the infinite damage to our reputation, our accreditation is at stake. And even if we do not lose accreditation after this fiasco ends, the IHL will still have an absolute power that goes unchecked, even when its members practice blatant cronyism and political corruption in their leadership.The latest victims of their nondemocratic rule just so happens to be us.
The IHL Board of Trustees is appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate and is granted the sole legal responsibility of hiring our chancellors. The University of Mississippi Chancellor Search served as a way to include university input on the decision of who our new chancellor will be. Despite all of this, IHL completely ignored our input, deciding that they know what is best for us and that our opinion in the hiring process ultimately did not matter.
IHL could have pretended to respect the process. At various points, Glenn Boyce could have been made an official candidate. He could have been vetted and held to the same standard as the other nominees and applicants but he was not because IHL did not care about decency or discretion.
Right now we can not say how Glenn Boyce will perform, but we do know this: His most recent experience in educational leadership is limited to community college, and he has no plans for our university. He has made it clear through conversations with student leaders and interviews with news outlets that he does not have a vision for this university.
Whether or not you think Glenn Boyce will be a good chancellor is not the question. The problem here is that the lack of integrity in this process delegitimizes and harms the effectiveness of Boyce’s leadership before it even begins.
He has no idea what shots to call. His only plans are to talk with students and faculty to understand what his plan should be. Anyone can do that. It is unfair to other candidates who were qualified, vetted and equipped with a plan.
My guess is that the affluent Mississippi politicians in cahoots with Phil Bryant — who appointed all of the members of the IHL Board of Trustees — know exactly what their vision for our university is. This is a walk in the park compared to what we are about to get. Corruption no longer has to take the backdoor approach to deter university action; Boyce will let it straight in.
If you care about freedom of choice or the validity of your degree, you should tune in and join the movement to address this. We either act now or we’ll be defenseless against outside agenda’s influence on our campus.
Yasmine Malone is a junior general studies major from Clarksdale, Mississippi.