Ole Miss Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter announced on Monday that he will resign from his post at this end of this calendar year. Vitter became chancellor of the school in January of 2016 after serving as provost and executive vice chancellor at Kansas. Some students were surprised to hear about Vitter’s resignation. Sophomore Zoe Thaw said, “I feel like he did a great job while he was here, and I don’t know why he would be stepping down.”
Recently, another negative spotlight on Ole Miss may have contributed to Vitter’s resignation. In September Ed Meek, a Mississippi graduate and media entrepreneur, posted a Facebook rant complaining of lower enrollment, deteriorating property values and pictures of two African American women with racial undertones. Though Chancellor Vitter immediately condemned the post, it’s apparent the controversy has something to do with Vitter stepping down. Others (Conservative Donors) cite the university becoming exceptionally divided under a progressive Vitter—with his pushing to remove the flag of the state, encouraging the prohibition of playing Dixie at football, a debacle with the selection of a new mascot, and other issues which they believe is causing athletics, enrollment and public image of the school to suffer.
Mississippi isn’t the only school that is facing major recent changes in leadership. In the past month Maryland, South Carolina, Colorado State, the Tennessee System, and South Florida all have presidents and chancellors who are either retiring or resigning. Two weeks ago, Maryland’s President Dr. Wallace D. Loh announced he will be leaving the university in June of 2019 after a college football player died during practice. Loh’s administration was found to be partially responsible for an athletic department that allowed players to be abused for years. Loh said, “I have accepted that responsibility.” Colorado State’s President Tony Frank has announced his resignation for next summer saying, “it’s now time for the next step in our university’s trajectory, and that will require the articulation of a new vision for Colorado State.”