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STATEMENT FROM THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF STATE INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING

5/16/2019 - Jackson, Miss.

On Thursday, May 16, 2019, the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning voted, with dissent, to approve the promotion and tenure of a University of Mississippi professor who was recommended to the Board for tenure by the University of Mississippi.

In light of recent concerns regarding certain statements by the professor on social media, the Board examined whether those statements were in keeping with the requirements for tenure set out in IHL Policies 402.03 and 403.0101, which require, in part, that the Board and heads of its institutions consider the candidate's effectiveness in interpersonal relationships, including professional ethics and cooperativeness, in making decisions regarding tenure. The Board is also mindful of the University's "Statement Concerning Academic Freedom," which states, in part: "As a person of learning and an educational officer, he/she should remember that the public may judge his/her profession and his/her institution by his/her utterances. Hence, he/she should strive at all times to be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others,…"

Following discussion, including consideration of the Board's support for academic freedom and expression, ultimately it was the recommendation of the professor's institution, the University of Mississippi, that carried the greatest weight in the majority of the Board's decision to grant tenure to the professor.

After discussion and vote, the Board now moves forward united in purpose for the good of higher education within the State of Mississippi.

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

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