Ole Miss Chancellor looks forward to bright future

By Jamel Major - bio | email

OXFORD, MS (WMC-TV) - Though the past few months have been challenging, Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones said Tuesday he is looking forward to a bright future for the school.

In an interview with Action News 5, Jones said the University has made a lot of progress over the years.

"Our first priority is to continue to strive toward academic excellence," he said.

Jones said he is happy to be the 16th chief executive officer of Ole Miss. On the job for only 10 months, he has already come under fire, taking a lot of heat for some of the decisions he has made.

"They sure have caused me a lot of trouble this year," he said.

The controversy started when Jones asked the school's marching band to stop playing a pep song because some fans were chanting "the South will rise again" at the end of it.  

"People from this region and all over the country look a little closer at things related to this university," he said. "There were some things said that could be harmful or hurtful to some people."

Jones also commented on the university's mascot search. Students recently voted to find a new mascot to replace Colonel Reb. According to Jones, Ole Miss' history of dealing with the issue of race has been more difficult that most other schools.

"Any institution in the South or in the country has some challenges in its past," he said. "This one has been burdened with a difficult public image because of some of the things that happened here."

Jones said despite the recent controversy, the Ole Miss can look forward to a number of other challenges, including the economy and its impact on higher education.

However, Jones is confident the university will come out on top.

"I'm proud to be leader and optimistic about the future," he said.

Chancellor Jones' inauguration will be held at Ole Miss on Friday, April 9, at 10am inside the Ford Center on campus.

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