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The Dan Jones-IHL saga: Is this the story that started it all?

Dan Jones

Dan Jones

In 2011, the Mississippi Business Journal published a story about Democratic strategist Jere Nash sending an email to Delta Council executive vice president Chip Morgan.

In the email, which was included in the court file of James Hahn’s lawsuit against the Delta Health Alliance, Nash discusses ways to bring some combination of public and social embarrassment to former Ole Miss Chancellor Robert Khayat.

Now, we are receiving information, that this story may be the genesis of the feud between current Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones and the IHL, which has led Mississippi’s College Board to seek a new chancellor for the University of Mississippi, despite rising criticism of the move.

Board members, commenting said Dan Jones never resolved problems with contract and financial management at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. The members said the board had pushed repeatedly for a resolution of those problems without success over the years.

“This led to our conclusion that the only practical way to deal with this … was to make a change in the institutional head,” said Alan Perry, the board’s incoming president.

In the 2011 story in the MBJ, Nash made clear — In the email, which was included in the court file of James Hahn’s lawsuit against the Delta Health Alliance — ways to bring some combination of public and social embarrassment to former Ole Miss Chancellor Robert Khayat in a May 2009 e-mail to Delta Council executive vice president Chip Morgan, who a recent nominee to the IHL board by Gov. Phil Bryant.

» READ THE ENTIRE STORY AND MORE: Email from Nash to Delta Council’s Morgan included in DHA court file

“Each can be an effective motivator,” Nash writes. “As for the public kind, it seems there are three venues: (1) the press; (2) the Legislature; and (3) the College Board. The typical free media is pretty weak in Mississippi (as you know), but that doesn’t mean that a juicy story about UMC losing millions of federal dollars because of bureaucratic bumbling wouldn’t entice even the laziest reporter.”

Nash continues in his email: “But in today’s world, there are also blogs, radio talk shows, email blasts, university chat rooms, anonymous mailings, etc. All of which can be put to good use to make a point. And most of these venues feed on themselves; calling one editor to quash a story, like RK could have done in the old days, can’t happen today. Once the story gets on the web, it is like a growing organism. I know this from other work – UMC has a less-than-stellar in-house PR/communications operation. They are very weak, and would have no clue about how to counter this kind of frontal assault. They know virtually nothing about message development and message delivery.”

 

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