March 27, 2015

Ousted Chancellor Popular With Donors Might Stay at Ole Miss

A week after voting not to renew University of Mississippi Chancellor Dan Jones's contract, the state's College Board is prepared to reverse course and retain the popular campus leader, whose departure threatened to cost the institution millions of dollars in donations, according to the Associated Press. Citing people with knowledge of the negotiations, the news service reports Mr. Jones will be offered a two-year extension of his contract, which was set to run out in September.

The Gertrude C. Ford Foundation, which pledged $20 million to Ole Miss last fall to seed a new science building, said it would pull the gift if Mr. Jones were removed, The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson reported earlier this week. Other big donors, including former Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale and the Bower Foundation, rallied to the campus leader's defense. The initial decision to remove Mr. Jones, which trustees attributed to his failure to improve financial reporting and contracting procedures at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, ignited a firestorm of protest from students, alumni, and faculty.

Also citing sources close to the talks, The Clarion-Ledger reported late Thursday that Mr. Jones has rejected trustees' current offer, which would require him to resign after the two-year extension and make a public apology to the board. He has previously received four-year deals, as is typical for university heads in the state, the newspaper says.