Ole Miss names chancellor despite protest ending ceremony

Ole Miss Chancellor Glenn Boyce (IHL)

Mississippi's former higher education commissioner was named the next chancellor of the University of Mississippi on Friday in a choice that was made public via a news release after an announcement ceremony was thwarted by student protesters' cries of "Shame! Shame! Shame!"

Posted: Oct 4, 2019 12:38 PM
Updated: Oct 4, 2019 6:44 PM

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi's former higher education commissioner was named the next chancellor of the University of Mississippi on Friday in a choice that was made public via a news release after an announcement ceremony was thwarted by student protesters' cries of "Shame! Shame! Shame!"

Glenn Boyce's appointment was supposed to be revealed at an on-campus hotel ballroom in Oxford, but protesters outraged over a lack of campus input refused to be silent. After police wrestled student protester Cam Calisch out of the room, the university's police chief said the event was canceled.


Protestors gathered at The Inn at Ole Miss where the announcement was to be made.

Less than an hour later, College Board trustees sent out a news release announcing they had voted unanimously to appoint Boyce.

Boyce was earlier hired by the university's private foundation to meet with influential individuals about the search, telling reporters Friday on a conference call that he was paid about $87,000. Boyce denied then he was seeking the job. He said Friday he wanted to let the search play out, but trustee Ford Dye said Boyce's name repeatedly surfaced.

"I didn't hire myself. The board of trustees hired me," said Boyce, who told reporters he would consider returning the money, although he said he'd done "nothing untoward."

He told The Associated Press he's motivated by a desire to serve a university that attracted him sight unseen to Mississippi in 1978 from his native New York state. Boyce earned a bachelor's and doctoral degree from Ole Miss.

"I credit this university with giving me the leadership skills and knowledge that I needed as I advanced throughout my career." said Boyce, who is supposed to start by Oct. 13. No salary was released.

The 61-year-old deferred questions about the selection process to trustees, but acknowledged divisions.

"I'm going to work to unify the Ole Miss community," he said.

It's the second major Southern university in recent months where a leadership selection was marred by protests. Trustees at the University of South Carolina in July named retired Army general Bob Caslen as president, even after students and professors protested Caslen's lack of a doctoral degree or research university experience.

Boyce served as president of central Mississippi's Holmes Community College from 2005 to 2014, earlier serving as assistant superintendent and principal in the Rankin County school district in suburban Jackson. He was hired to be associate higher education commissioner in 2014, but ended up as commissioner less than a year later when trustees' first choice backed out.

Trustees voted in closed session to name Boyce on Thursday, after interviewing a number of candidates. However, campus groups had expected a second round of interviews, with some consultation, followed by a finalist visiting campus to meet with students, faculty, staff and alumni before trustees voted.

Dye, who led the selection process, told reporters that trustees moved quickly because "there's a lot of division in the Ole Miss family right now. We wanted to get Dr. Boyce on campus to unify the Ole Miss family."

Matuh Abron, a member of Students Against Social Injustice and a junior sociology major from Texas, said trustees were "railroading this candidate that no one in the university knew or had a chance to give feedback on."

About 40 protesters filed into the ballroom where the announcement was to be held, with dozens more outside. At one point, they countered the traditional Ole Miss cheer of "Hotty Toddy" with "IHL, what the hell?" using the acronym for the Board of Trustees of Institutions of Higher Learning.

Calisch, a senior anthropology major from Pensacola, Florida, said she hoped the protest would further a demand to dismantle the board and do more to let the university govern itself. She said she wasn't arrested, but forced to leave when she was picked up and wrestled out of the room.

She notes that campus groups voted in favor of moving a statue of a Confederate soldier on the Oxford campus to a less prominent location, a move that's awaiting a trustee vote amid opposition from some. That's just the current battle in a seemingly never-ending struggle over how the university should deal with the symbolism of the Confederacy and white supremacy.

Boyce said he has "not made any commitments" in regards to the statue, and said he would "visit" with campus groups about the relocation push.

Boyce also will inherit declining enrollment, an ailing football team, and heavy fundraising demands to pay debt for athletic facilities and raise money for a stalled giant science complex.

He pledges to be visible in student recruiting, including visiting high schools, a favored tactic of Mark Keenum, the president at rival Mississippi State University.

He also promised more effective outreach to the conservative Republicans who run the state, saying he would "make our leaders feel welcome to campus and show them the university is working effectively."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 96677

Reported Deaths: 2911
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7143160
DeSoto559460
Harrison388374
Jackson350570
Madison331089
Rankin330679
Lee273670
Forrest248973
Jones248779
Washington225977
Lafayette219139
Lauderdale2059125
Bolivar184566
Oktibbeha179952
Lamar171635
Lowndes158058
Neshoba1579104
Panola149930
Sunflower147146
Leflore141081
Warren140750
Pontotoc127816
Pike124051
Monroe123568
Copiah119133
Scott117627
Coahoma116329
Marshall110617
Lincoln110253
Holmes109859
Grenada109036
Yazoo106230
Simpson104646
Tate100437
Union99824
Leake96038
Adams94137
Wayne90421
Pearl River89253
Marion86535
Prentiss86217
Covington82722
Itawamba82621
Alcorn82011
George78013
Tallahatchie77321
Newton77224
Winston74219
Tishomingo69038
Chickasaw68424
Tippah67117
Attala66725
Walthall60126
Clarke60046
Clay59518
Hancock58722
Jasper57515
Noxubee55116
Smith53415
Calhoun52112
Tunica49715
Claiborne46516
Montgomery46420
Yalobusha43514
Lawrence43313
Perry42419
Greene38817
Humphreys37715
Quitman3775
Stone37412
Jefferson Davis34211
Webster33813
Amite33210
Carroll31912
Wilkinson30518
Kemper29015
Sharkey26613
Jefferson2439
Benton2273
Franklin1933
Choctaw1866
Issaquena1053
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 134231

Reported Deaths: 2357
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19676351
Mobile13373292
Montgomery8834184
Tuscaloosa8621118
Madison788178
Shelby597849
Lee589760
Baldwin547750
Marshall394343
Calhoun351544
Etowah349045
Morgan329228
Houston290321
Elmore266748
DeKalb241621
St. Clair232235
Walker231684
Talladega216629
Limestone210120
Cullman189920
Dallas179026
Franklin177129
Autauga176425
Russell17603
Lauderdale171333
Colbert164626
Blount161115
Escambia160824
Chilton158530
Jackson157511
Covington140127
Dale138644
Coffee13486
Pike119810
Chambers116442
Tallapoosa116085
Clarke109116
Marion96429
Butler91239
Barbour8827
Winston74412
Marengo72020
Pickens66214
Bibb65410
Lowndes65327
Randolph64713
Hale63528
Geneva6254
Lawrence62023
Cherokee60813
Bullock60414
Monroe5898
Clay5858
Washington55713
Perry5416
Crenshaw53732
Conecuh53511
Wilcox53111
Henry5055
Macon48018
Fayette4578
Sumter43819
Cleburne3805
Lamar3672
Choctaw34712
Greene30315
Coosa1713
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