The Forward Rebels ad campaign returned to the newspapers today, this one with a large photo of Ole Miss chancellor Dan Jones with the headline “Uncivil” beneath the photo.
In an email response on Sept. 29 addressed to the Ole Miss family regarding the Forward Rebels campaign, Jones said the criticism of athletics director Pete Boone in unsigned full-page newspaper ads was “uncivil.”
Today's ad, the third in the series, says, “Is it uncivil to ask why Boone can lead Ole Miss to mediocre SEC results and be given a $429,000 per year contract extension for doing so?”
The ad also addresses Jones and says “The way you use your bully pulpit to stifle dissent is uncivil. And just plain wrong.”
In his letter Jones stated, “The current campaign against the university and its athletic leadership is uncivil. It is not in the spirit of the Ole Miss family. It hinders the goals set forth in the Creed and is not in the interest of our university. I call on those involved in the campaign to stop, and I call on every person who loves Ole Miss to denounce it in every way possible.”
Jones' letter has been his only public comments about the campaign.
In the summer Jones gave a strong vote of confidence to Pete Boone. He did not address Boone's job performance in his email.
Said Jones in the email: “I regularly review the performance of all those who report to me, including Mr. Boone. But I cannot and will not engage in any sort of review in response to a public campaign to force his removal.”
Here's Jones from July: “One of the things that I’ve said to several people is that if I felt that changing leadership in athletics would help us achieve championships faster I would be happy to make that decision. It’s my responsibility to make that decision.”
More from Jones in the same interview: “The trajectory of athletics in terms of the type people we have as head coaches, the progress in facilities, the progress in creating financial infrastructure to lead to success, the progress in private support, the progress in attendance, all of these, the long-term trajectory is in the right direction,” he said. “I still have strong confidence in Pete, and the team that he has in athletics.”
It appears the Boone discussion, whether you believe it is uncivil or not, is at a stalemate.
Jones has said or done nothing to indicate his support for Boone has changed. Boone says he has no intention of resigning.
The Forward Rebels campaign does not appear to be slowing down, but in fact its ad today cites more than 10,000 people “who have joined our cause, and the number is growing rapidly.”