In their third protest in 10 days, members of the Abolish IHL movement marched to the Lyceum on Monday to call for the abolition of the Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees and the resignation of newly appointed Chancellor Glenn Boyce.
Monday was Boyce’s first school day in his new role as chancellor.
About 60 protesters chanted, “We have a voice, no Glenn Boyce” as they marched toward the Lyceum.
“We want Glenn Boyce to resign, the abolishment of the IHL and to gain campus autonomy,” Quay Williams, organizer and sophomore graphic design major, said.
The IHL Board appointed Boyce chancellor on Oct. 4 after a nine-month search process in which he was hired as a consultant. Boyce’s name was not listed in a leaked list of eight candidates that was released shortly before his appointment.
The same group held a silent march last week that went from the Grove to the Faculty Senate meeting in the Thad Cochran Center to urge the senate to vote “no confidence” in both the IHL and Boyce.
The senate voted 42-1 against a no confidence resolution but passed a resolution asking the IHL to deliver a timeline of their search process by Oct. 15.
Students and prospective families on campus tours stood and watched the protesters as they marched.
“We were just trying to figure out what they were protesting,” freshman general studies major Hagyn Paul said. “We just chased them around campus. It is kind of weird he appointed himself and everyone seems a little annoyed by it.”
Anne Twitty, associate professor of history and organizer, and Williams gave speeches to the crowd on the steps of the Lyceum before they entered the building.
Twitty said that the protest was focused on the abolition of the IHL and Boyce’s resignation, not on Boyce’s political leanings.
“I don’t think we know much about Glenn Boyce the man, and this is, again, one of the problems of running such a slip-shod search,” Twitty said. “I think the problem is that we don’t really know much at all about Glenn Boyce’s time as head of Holmes Community College. We know a little bit more about his time as head of the (IHL Board), but that board’s proceedings are shrouded in secrecy, and it’s extremely difficult to ever get them to be transparent.”
Twitty also said that she did not know what Boyce planned to do when he took over as chancellor.
“In the interviews that he’s granted so far, I don’t think he really knows what he wants to do as chancellor, and that’s a real problem,” Twitty said.
Williams said that the people who “eat, sleep and breathe” the campus should have the final say on decisions that affect them. He said that the IHL should not have the final say over things like funding for specific buildings, the removal of the Confederate monument and the process of hiring the chancellor.
“Six months ago, this campus unanimously voted that the Confederate statue gets relocated,” Williams said. “before anything happens to the statue, IHL has the final say. Please tell me how the voice of 12 people trumps the voice of 22,000?”
Before student and faculty protesters could begin chanting their demands in the Lyceum, Dean of Students Brent Marsh asked them to “wrap up” because people were working.
“Did you guys hear that?” one protester replied. “People are working in here. That means we’ve got to be louder.”
Marsh previously asked student protestors to be “thoughtful” at the announcement on Oct. 4 of Boyce as the next chancellor.
UPD Chief Ray Hawkins called off the announcement, which was scheduled to take place at the Inn at Ole Miss, after he said the protesters in the room were not being civil. When Hawkins asked one protester, Cam Calisch, to leave, and she didn’t comply, he carried her from the room.
Hawkins was present at Monday’s protests with around six other officers. They stood together at the margins of the crowd.
Marsh said that he did not feel the need to defend his comment from the previous protest.
After chanting their demands for Boyce to resign, the IHL board to resign, a democratic search process for the chancellor position and the abolition of the IHL, Williams handed a letter from the group to a Lyceum secretary and asked that she give it to Boyce.
“When I interviewed to come here, I was aware that there was a pretty high level of student activism, and I think it’s great to see students who are passionate about issues being able to utilize their voices and as the dean of students, part of my job is to help students do that in a safe and effective way,” Marsh said.
The letter outlined their demands that the IHL and Boyce resign and the chancellor search process be reopened.
“Because we care about the future of the university, we are standing up for it,” the letter read. “Doing so means securing an ethically, professionally, and democratically vetted Chancellor. Because of the IHL’s own actions throughout the search process, Dr. Glenn Boyce can never be that chancellor.”