Friday, August 12, 2016

Rumors emerge about ASU campus leadership; Welch squelches them

Posted By on Fri, Aug 12, 2016 at 11:26 AM

click to enlarge LES WYATT: Mentioned in possible return to ASU.
  • LES WYATT: Mentioned in possible return to ASU.
Rumors, and they are only that, have popped up about a potential appointment to be interim chancellor at Arkansas State University, where Tim Hudson abruptly departed amid revelations about questionable handling of a program for study abroad and payments to Hudson's wife for work in that program.

UPDATE: Publication of this item produced a direct denial of the circulating talk from ASU System President Charles Welch.

The rumor was that former ASU System President Les Wyatt, who resigned as president of the system in 2010 after a tenure that included leadership of the Jonesboro campus, might be in line for an interim appointment. I put the question to Jeff Hankins, lead spokesman for the ASU System.

His response:

Dr. Welch and I are both off today. No announcement of anything today. Inappropriate to comment on rumors or speculation.
Two things: 1) That isn't a no. 2) ASU System President Charles Welch gave me a similar comment when I asked him some years ago whether Jeff Hankins was in line to be appointed to the job that he soon would land.

UPDATE: Welch decided to be more direct after this item appeared.

I'm not sure who your sources are, but they are 100% inaccurate. Les Wyatt will not be interim chancellor and never was under consideration. Hope that is direct enough for you.

I would also point out that no one knows what my plans are regarding the interim. I have not discussed my options with a single person, so whoever is telling you things is simply making it up.

I am not going to comment on any other names that are floated or made up "news" that is reported.

Chuck
There was understandably high interest on campus because Wyatt would have packed a little  history relevant to the current times. He for the longest wouldn't respond to conflict of interest questions raised about his relationship with an on-line education company that listed ASU as a client. It was a cause of concern among many on the faculty, though the Board of Trustees never expressed concern. He ultimately did give us an e-mail response. 

Faculty, too, were unhappy about the six-figure pay Wyatt got after leaving the president's office and moving into a faculty slot. Shortly after, he took an unpaid leave of absence but is now back on staff as president emeritus, tenured professor of art and higher education and College Student Personnel Services program advisor. He has been a senior consultant to Academic Partnerships of Dallas, a marketer of on-line programs provided through ASU.  That's a relevant name.

The audit that detailed questions about Hudson's relationship with a provider of the foreign study program included a reference to his seeking help from the CEO of Academic Partnerships.  One item was Hudson's effort to get Pablo Rubio, son of the owner of the foreign study company, a job. The Democrat-Gazette reported:

According to audit findings, "[t]he Chancellor endorsed Pablo's employment with a company doing business with ASU, involved him in fact-finding with a company potentially doing business with ASUJ, and eventually hired Pablo to work for ASUJ throughout the years 2013 through 2016."

In 2013, Tim Hudson asked the CEO of Academic Partnerships in Dallas to hire Pablo Rubio to do consulting services at the Jonesboro campus. The Hudsons hosted a dinner with the company's CEO and Pablo Rubio listed as two of 11 guests, the audit said.

"I recommend that AP seek a short term consulting relationship with Pablo Rubio, who we both now know and who is generally open to this idea, to abet this process," Tim Hudson wrote in a later email to the company's CEO. "Arkansas State can offer some in-kind assistance if you choose to make this investment."
Dr. Lynita Cooksey, previously ASU provost, has been acting chancellor.

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