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A divided board of trustees voted Thursday to give Henderson State University President Glen Jones a one-year contract extension.

The agreement includes no salary increase and runs through June 30, 2023. Jones makes $230,500 annually.

Jones, 48, has been president of the Arkadelphia-based university since 2012. Henderson is a public institution with 3,958 students.

The board vote split along its usual lines. Trustee Brown Hardman voted no. Trustee Eddie Arnold was present but did not vote. The remaining five trustees voted for the extension.

In May, 47 of 86 tenured faculty members voted in favor of a no-confidence measure against the president and three vice presidents after a $3.2 million budget deficit led to layoffs and other cuts. Eighteen tenured faculty members opposed the no-confidence measure; eight abstained; and 13 did not vote.

The measure urged trustees to place Jones on a one-year provisional contract and to dismiss the vice presidents. All three vice presidents later got new contracts.

The board's vote Thursday followed a closed session. After returning to the public portion of the meeting, board Chairman Bruce Moore said he recommended Jones' contract extension with no salary increase.

The board is "very pleased with the direction that the university is going," Moore said.

Neither Hardman nor Arnold gave any reason for their decisions during the public part of the meeting.

In an interview later, Hardman said, "It is my belief that we need to have a process on how to grade the president and the vice presidents. It needs to be [based] not just on enrollment but also on contributions," as well as on such matters as teacher salaries and "the entire Henderson State University."

Boosted by a record number of new freshmen, Henderson's undergraduate enrollment increased for the current fall semester for the first time since the fall of 2014.

The university said in September that 3,009 undergraduates had enrolled as of the 11th day of classes and that an additional 390 high school students were participating in concurrent course offerings. Last fall, the school had 2,831 undergraduates and six concurrent students. A record 855 first-time freshmen marked a 38 percent increase over last year's first-time freshmen.

The university also said 559 graduate students had enrolled this fall compared with 499 last fall, bringing total full-time enrollment to 3,568 compared with 3,336 last fall.

Hardman called the record enrollment a "positive" development but said other matters also are important.

"Morale is at rock bottom" among faculty members, he said. The university also still doesn't have enough money in its reserves, he said.

"We're improving in certain areas, but we're not improving in every area," Hardman said.

Arnold said he prefers three-year to five-year contracts but favors keeping Jones' salary as it is. Arnold said he had thought the salary and the extension would be considered separately and didn't vote when they were handled in one vote.

Contacted later Thursday, Fred Worth, faculty senate president, said he needs to "see what the board said before I make any comment on it."

State Desk on 11/09/2018

Print Headline: Henderson State University trustees add year to president's contract, no raise


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