Despite backlash, IHL names Dr. Glenn Boyce as new Ole Miss chancellor

Despite universal backlash from the Ole Miss community, Dr. Glenn Boyce will become the next chancellor at Ole Miss. 

This morning, a press conference was set to be held at the Inn at Ole Miss, but it was abruptly canceled as officials said that it could “not be held in a civil manner.” Protestors filled the room and voiced their displeasure with Boyce’s hiring following a process that many now perceive to be deeply flawed. 

Instead of a public announcement, the IHL has broken their silence in an emailed statement confirming the decision to name Boyce as the next chancellor at the University of Mississippi. 

“As a leader in education, Dr. Boyce has a great track record of success,” said Dr. Ford Dye, Vice President of the IHL Board of Trustees and Chair of the Board Search Committee. “During the search process, our alumni, faculty, students, staff and community members provided invaluable feedback about the qualities they expect in the next University of Mississippi Chancellor, specifically citing a need for someone with strong and experienced leadership skills, broad higher-education expertise, who knows and understands our state.  We listened, and believe Glenn exemplifies those traits. His background and experience combine to make him the perfect choice to lead an outstanding public research university like ours to new levels of success.”

In the past week, a list of 8 possible candidates had been leaked to the media, but Boyce’s name was not on it. Boyce, the former IHL Commissioner, had served as a consultant for Ole Miss as they searched for candidates to replace Jeffery Vitter, who stepped down back in November. When it was announced that Boyce had been hand-picked by the IHL to become the new chancellor, many questioned the legitimacy of the search. 

When reports of the decision began to trickle out on Thursday night, a firestorm on social media quickly followed which then evolved into protests on the Ole Miss campus on Friday. In his first public statement, Boyce didn’t address the controversy swirling around his new position. 

“I am honored to be given this opportunity by the Board of Trustees and the Ole Miss family,” Boyce said. “As an alumnus, I am deeply appreciative to the university for providing me the leadership skills and intellectual knowledge necessary for advancing my career. I am humbled by the responsibility given to me. Together, we will strive to make the state’s flagship institution the most student-centered university in the nation, providing them with the education necessary to become the most creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial-minded students around. Our students will be at the forefront of designing and leading Mississippi’s future.  All this begins with the best faculty, staff, technology, facilities and supportive alumni. I believe those are already in place and as Chancellor, I am committed to building upon this solid foundation. I want the students of today and tomorrow to know their dreams are important, and this is a place where dreams are realized.”

Boyce most recently served as the Commissioner of Higher Education for the State of Mississippi, before retiring in June 2018. Prior to that, he served as associate commissioner for academic and student affairs for the IHL. He joined the IHL after serving as president of Holmes Community College for more than nine years.

Boyce holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Mississippi, a master’s degree in education administration from Mississippi College and a doctorate in education leadership from the University of Mississippi.

Much of the uproar has not been about Boyce’s qualifications for the position, but rather the fact that many within the Ole Miss community feel that this process ends with a lack of transparency and respect for the opinions of university stakeholders.