The Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees selected Glenn Boyce as the next chancellor before completing the 20-step process because the campus needed to be unified as soon as possible, according to board vice president Ford Dye.
The IHL hosted a phone press conference on Friday with Dye and newly announced University of Mississippi Chancellor Glenn Boyce.
“There’s a lot of division in the Ole Miss family right now, and we felt like the best thing to do was get Dr. Boyce on the board as soon as possible to help unify the Ole Miss family,” Dye said.
In the conference, Boyce opened with an emphasis on his focus on students.
“I will tell you also that first and foremost, I’ve always been a student-centered individual,” Boyce said. “I will be incredibly engaged with our students, highly visible with our students.”
The day of his announcement, students protested at The Inn at Ole Miss and on the steps of the Lyceum, expressing their disdain for the IHL’s lack of transparency during the chancellor search process.
“Our students exercised their freedom of expression, and I understand that and recognize that,” Boyce said. “I would say, however, that it’s also important, at some point, when we have civil discourse and conversation and the venue requires respect, that we eventually come around to that respect as well.”
The conference call was organized after a news conference scheduled for Friday morning was canceled, which was where the IHL planned to announce Boyce as chancellor. The news conference was cancelled amid the protests.
Boyce, who previously served as the commissioner of the IHL, was hired as a consultant by the board in the beginning of the search process to gain input from the Ole Miss community. He estimated he was paid around $87,000 for his consultation services.
“Once I completed my work, which was completed before the search even started,” Boyce said. “I was finished. I didn’t do any more work during the time that the search was conducted.”
When asked about returning the money he was paid for his consultation services, Boyce will “take that into consideration,” though he did not consider the work he did to be unethical.
Before the phone conference, the IHL released an official statement naming Boyce as the 18th chancellor of the university.
“The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) has voted unanimously to name Dr. Glenn Boyce as Chancellor of the University of Mississippi. Boyce, a well-respected leader in higher education, most recently served as Commissioner of Higher Education for the State of Mississippi, before retiring in June 2018,” the statement read.
“I am looking forward to our students being the most creative, innovative students, anywhere, any place they can compete globally,” Boyce said. “I’ve spent my entire career really focused on advancing institutions through student success. It was always about the students and will always be about the students.”
Dye added that despite claims that the Board of Trustees ignored campus voices, the IHL did consult those in the Ole Miss community.
“We got a lot of campus input,” Dye said. “I think we did a really good job of getting input from a lot of different people.”
The co-chairs for the committee were Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education Charles Hussey.
“Our (CSAC) co-chairs were involved with the interviews. The rest of the committee was not involved with the interview process.”
Dye said that he didn’t believe he heard any pushback from members of the CSAC about the selection of Boyce. Barron Mayfield, president of the Associated Student Body, was the lone student on the search committee and expressed frustration about the process.
“The students were not represented,” Mayfield said this morning after the news conference cancelation. “I was frustrated from the get-go, that I was the only (student) placed on the advisory committee. But you could have put a thousand students on there and it would have made no difference because they weren’t listening.”
When asked what his idea of a better chancellor search process would look like in the future, Mayfield leaned in to the recorder and said, “one not run by the IHL.”