“Dr. “Dr. “He is passionate about the university, its students and faculty, and the administration,” said Alfred Rankins, IHL commissioner. The vacant chancellor post at the University of Mississippi — the most powerful, sought-after and highest-paid positions in state government — was left vacant by former Chancellor Jeff Vitter in November. The search was initiated by the 12-member IHL board earlier in the year. Boyce was a paid consultant to IHL board this year, speaking over the past few weeks with alumni and potential candidates about the best way to conduct the search. Boyce did not apply for the job, and he was not vetted or contacted by any university constituency groups. Boyce was granted what is known as a “backdoor” interview by the IHL board. This means that the board and other search experts reached out to Boyce privately and included him in the search process. The IHL waived several steps of their search process when Boyce was hired. The news of the hiring was first reported by several media outlets on Thursday evening. This sparked intense social media backlash among alumni, students and faculty at Ole Miss. The IHL held a press conference at noon on Friday to announce the hiring. Rankins and Ford Dye, chairman of the IHL board search committee, entered the noon press conference at the Inn At Ole Miss on Friday. Several protesters positioned themselves near the podium. Protesters held signs critical of the IHL, including one that read “What the heck, IHL?” — and Boyce. As Dye began to speak, protesters shouted and chanted. Ray Hawkins (chief of the University of Mississippi’s police department) then grabbed a protester by the throat and dragged them out of the room. This prompted a flurry of jeers and applause from others. Rankins and Dye left the room. As the room buzzed, Hawkins made an announcement that the press conference had been cancelled due to safety concerns. The protestors continued their chanting and the police cleared the room. After tension had subsided inside the venue, Hawkins sent a press release to reporters about an hour later. Boyce was to hold a conference call on Friday with reporters. Boyce is a Madison native and a New York State native. He has over 35 years experience in Mississippi education, including as a teacher at the kindergarten through 12th grades, and as an administrator at the K-12, community college, and university levels. Boyce was previously president of Holmes Community College, Goodman. Boyce holds a doctorate and undergraduate degree from the University of Mississippi, and a masters degree from Mississippi College. His doctorate was in education leadership.