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Ole Miss Faculty, Staff Discuss Need for Culture Change at IHL

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Douglas Sullivan-Gonzales (L) and James Thomas
Sandra Knispel

While the state College Board will soon begin the search for a new chancellor for the University of Mississippi, many on the Ole Miss campus demand change. Sandra Knispel reports:

About fifty people - most of them faculty and staff - turned up at the Overby Center yesterday for a discussion about the IHL’s decision and its lack of transparency regarding the firing of the Ole Miss chancellor.

"We have to have debate, we have to have discussions, which means contentious dialogue in a public forum."

Douglas Sullivan-Gonzalez, Dean of the university’s Honors College, says the IHL needs to change its culture:

"Can you show me a single IHL video where there is contentious debate? Every time they come out it’s almost a unanimous decision and so you have to question the culture of debate that’s taking place.”

UM assistant professor of Sociology, James Thomas, calls the university community to action.

“Stand for more than just Dan. Stand for accountability and transparency. Stand for self-determination and stand for a public university that believes in the value of the search for knowledge and its dissemination to an audience bigger than itself.”

Education Professor Andy Mullins, who is the former chief of staff to both Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat and Chancellor Jones, says the IHL model is “obsolete.”

 “It’s like a part-time parent trying to raise eight different children, four boys and four girls. They don’t get the attention they need. So they try to make them all look alike to ease the process of governing them. So then it becomes more about the process than it does the finished product.”

Instead Mullins favors a two-board system – one for the four research universities including Ole Miss and Mississippi State, and a second board for the four regional universities.