OXFORD, Miss. (localmemphis.com) – A coronation gave way to chaos and clashes Friday, as University of Mississippi leaders unveiled its controversial pick of a new chancellor.
Dozens of Ole Miss students and faculty crashed a news conference to introduce Dr. Glenn Boyce, forcing campus police to cancel the event.
Local 24 News witnessed officers escort out at least one demonstrator.
Students and faculty who protested argued the chancellor search process turned into a backroom deal which didn’t give them enough input.
Those demonstrators at Ole Miss showed up with signs and shouts against the selection, booing and hissing and engaging with others who supported the chancellor in a standing room only conference room.
The chants never died down and Ole Miss leaders scrapped the chancellor introduction, upsetting those who came to support Dr. Boyce.
“We know Ole Miss and we are going to get through this,” one supporter said. “I don’t like what I saw; you can’t disrupt a meeting,” another said.
Friday afternoon, the board of trustees defended their decision, and Dr. Boyce defended his credentials to lead his alma mater.
Dr. Boyce previously worked and was paid as a consultant during the chancellor search. Although he said he initially wasn’t interested in the job, the board said he emerged as the best candidate after a national search.
“I didn’t hire myself,” Dr. Boyce said. “The board of trustees hired me.”
But the demonstrators who showed up Friday felt otherwise.
“There is no part of this that passes the smell test, frankly,” Ole Miss Professor Anne Twitty said.
As for the divisiveness shown in the room, Dr. Boyce said he’s ready to engage with Ole Miss students and staff and push the university to new levels.
“I feel like I’ve got tremendous support out there and while we’ve got some work to do and we’ve got some challenges, we certainly will tackle those,” Dr. Boyce said.