OXFORD • The Senate of the Faculty at the University of Mississippi passed a resolution on Tuesday night to demand a timeline of events from the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning explaining how the state college board ultimately named Glenn Boyce as the next chancellor of Ole Miss.
IHL is asked to “provide a complete accounting, including a detailed timeline of all actions taken by the IHL and any groups or individuals working with the IHL on the recently completed search for the next chancellor of the University of Mississippi.”
The resolution also asks for information related to Boyce’s participation in the search process.
Boyce worked for the IHL board as the commissioner of higher education from 2015 to 2018. After Jeffrey Vitter resigned as chancellor in November 2018, the position of chancellor became vacant.
IHL officials have said that Boyce was paid approximately $87,000 as a consultant in the early stages of the chancellor search to meet with university constituents to map out what type of candidate people were looking for in the next chancellor.
Ultimately Boyce, who never applied for the position, was selected as chancellor last Friday. The decision sparked protests on campus, including a march on Tuesday night.
Around 30 protesters gathered in the Grove an hour before the meeting to make signs, followed by a silent march to the faculty senate meeting in the Thad Cochran Research Center.
Protesters sat behind faculty and held signs reading phrases like “Abolish IHL” and “no confidence.”
Olivia Hawkins, a senior political science and biology major, said protests came together quickly but she thinks establishing a consistent voice of opposition against the IHL will take time.
“For some facets of it, it may be a slower process getting different bodies to issue votes of no confidence and condemnations of Glenn Boyce and the IHL, but that’s our goal in the end – to get a unified front on campus against what the IHL is doing to our university,” Hawkins said.
Noel Wilkin, provost and executive vice chancellor, addressed the chancellor controversy briefly before the senate.
“Our scholars, students and supporters will debate the process and how the decision was made,” Wilkin said. “That is not my role. The governing board has the authority to make this decision, they were the search committee and this was their decision to make.”
Wilkin added that he worked with Boyce during his tenure as commissioner and said he believes he has the ability to successfully lead the university.
Faculty senate secretary Brice Noonan proposed the resolution which was amended several times throughout the meeting to address the precise language used. The final version passed by a vote of 44 to 2.
Zachary Kagan Guthrie, an associate history professor, proposed adding an amendment reading, “Therefore, be it further resolved that the faculty senate votes no confidence in the IHL and Chancellor Boyce.” The senate voted against the amendment with a vote of 1 to 42.
Cam Calish, lead organizer for UM Solidarity, said what happened at the meeting “wasn’t that far from what we expected to happen,” but is hopeful that more will be done at a future meeting of the faculty senate.
IHL will be asked to submit the timeline by 5 p.m. Oct. 15 for the faculty senate’s consideration.
The faculty senate discussed holding an “extraordinary meeting” following the IHL’s response or lack thereof, to discuss any action the senate may take after IHL’s response, but did not set an official date for the potential meeting.