The University of Central Arkansas at Conway chose its 11th president last week, though whether legally or illegally remains to be seen. Congratulations to President Houston Davis--kind of. For he takes office under a legal cloud, not that those in control of UCA these days may much care. For the board conducted a "straw vote" at a closed meeting and so kept this supposedly public meeting private.
The chairman of the university's board of trustees, Shelia Vaught, acknowledged that the board had polled its members on their choice for the job. The board voted later that evening, without discussion, to hire Dr. Davis. Shelia Vaught called the earlier closed-door vote just a "straw ballot." Those who study the state's FOI law would call it something else.
That is, illegal.
What a contrast with the way Tom Courtway, the school's interim president twice before, ran things when he was obliged to step in--twice--when scandals were uncovered at the school.
By now two of the school's former presidents--Lu Hardin and Allen Meadors--have been convicted of crimes, though neither did time for either offense.
So the fifth largest public university in the state, with an enrollment of more than 11,000 students, continues to bumble along. Here's hoping Tom Courtway is standing by just in case. The way things tend to go without him, there's no telling when his stalwart services might be needed again.
Editorial on 11/09/2016
Print Headline: Games with the law