April 2, 2015
Dear Ole Miss Family,
Several days ago I wrote to you about the decision by the IHL Board not to renew my contract to serve as Chancellor. Last week, Dr. Jim Borsig, Commissioner-elect for the Board, approached me with a "compromise offer." The Board was willing to extend my contract for 21 months if I committed to retire in June of 2017. My performance or effectiveness up to that date would have no impact on whether I could continue to serve as Chancellor after June of 2017.
Over the last several days, Commissioner Borsig and I have continued conversations, and this week we traveled to meet individually with a number of Board members. In doing so, I hoped to determine if Board members would consider an extension that would allow me to serve as Chancellor without the outcome of my leadership predetermined. From these meetings it has become clear that the Board is not willing to do so.
I feel strongly, as do most of my advisors, that serving two years as a lame duck would make it difficult to recruit and retain key leaders and continue our momentum in private giving. More importantly, it is clear from the Board's position that the Board would not support my leadership during any extension. For the University to thrive and succeed, the University needs a leader who has the support of its governing board, which I clearly do not enjoy. For these reasons, it is in the University's best interest for me not to accept the Board's offer.
I cannot sufficiently express the gratitude Lydia and I feel for the amazing outpouring of support for us personally and for our beloved University. We will leave our position in September with a deep love for this place and, most especially, the people of the Ole Miss family. Let me encourage all of you to follow closely the search process for the next Chancellor. The IHL Board will make a better decision knowing that you are engaged and that they are accountable to all constituents of the Ole Miss family.
Let me also encourage us all to follow our creed and treat Board members with civility and respect. I encourage any communication to the IHL Board members to be in that spirit. During the last few days, Commissioner Borsig has dealt with me in a candid and transparent fashion. Please remember that he was thrown into the middle of a difficult situation and was not involved in any of the decisions about my future.
My decision not to accept the Board's offer may disappoint some of you. Please know the decision is made in the best interest of Ole Miss and out of love and respect for her. Lydia and I look forward to our last few months of service to the University and opportunities to visit with you.
Dan Jones, Chancellor