Talking back 

State Rep. Jon Hubbard of Jonesboro may not be a jewel of a legislator — the evidence that he falls short is strongly persuasive — but he has a talent for drawing worthy expressions from others.

Prominent in the Arkansas anti-immigrant movement, and aggressively ignorant, Hubbard likes to send admonitory communications to public officials — and maybe his own constituents, for all we know — chastising them for exhibitions of reason and tolerance. G. David Gearhart, chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Fayettevile, heard from Hubbard after the UA announced that a public discussion of illegal immigration would be held on campus this month, and that it would include participation by illegal immigrants appearing at some risk to themselves. Hubbard demanded an explanation for what he apparently considered the university's unseemly involvement with education. "Please consider this as my official request that you explain both your own, and that of the University of Arkansas, roles in this specific, and most likely, 'illegal' activity," he wrote.

We tend to think of Gearhart primarily as a fund-raiser. But he's an educator too, and that side of him showed in his response. "One of a university's many purposes is to serve as a gathering place where issues and ideas are shared," Gearhart wrote. Some of the most vexing issues of immigration policy are those concerning young people who were brought to the USA as children, he said, and "I believe it's important to offer our students and the public an opportunity to hear firsthand from individuals who have such a unique perspective: living most of their lives as Americans, if not citizens, but without having the same legal, educational and economic opportunities as their classmates and neighbors." He invited Hubbard to attend.

In the legislative session earlier this year, Hubbard sponsored a bill to deny state services, including medical services, to anyone lacking a birth certificate. That elicited comment from the Rev. Wendell Griffen (a circuit judge on weekdays): "A religious or social ethic which seeks to justify denying help to immigrants is anti-holy. It does not come from the heart of God. It is not consistent with the life and teachings of Jesus. [Hubbard professes to be a Christian.] It may be politically popular to fear people who speak another language, come from other homelands, and are vulnerable in our communities on account of those realities and their economic and other hardships, but that isn't holy."

The bill died in committee.

A public university is and must be a part of the world around it. That world today includes the large problem of immigration, legal and otherwise. It also includes the problem of reckless politicians like Jon Hubbard, but that one is more easily soluble. The people of Jonesboro can solve it in November.


Speaking of Jon Hubbard, David Gearhart

  • UA gala aims for billion; Facebook leaks some attendees

    September 17, 2016
    The secretive University of Arkansas gala last night in Fayetteville to supercharge the campus   fund-raising campaign included promotion of a billion-dollar goal. /more/
  • Christmas gift idea: Book on UA scandal

    December 7, 2015
    Former UA PR man John Diamond's book over the 2013 financial scandal at the University of Arkansas might make a good Christmas presents for people who need to know about inner workings of the Fayetteville campus. /more/
  • John Diamond publishes book on UA budget scandal that got him fired

    October 14, 2015
    John Diamond, the former chief media relations officer for the University of Arkansas, fired in the midst of what become an enormous controversy over a budget deficit in the UA fund-raising division and an investigation of whether then-Chancellor David Gearhartt had covered things up, has a book out about the episodet, "Please Delete." /more/
  • Ferritor to lead UA-Fayetteville on interim basis

    April 2, 2015
    Dan Ferritor will serve as interim chancellor at the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville during the search for a permanent replacement for David Gearhart, who will leave the job July 31. /more/
  • The Asa's Big First Week Edition

    January 16, 2015
    Asa Hutchinson’s first week in office, notable state legislation introduced so far, outrageous recommendations for raising public officials salaries, Leslie Rutledge firing and hiring and the retirement of the University of Arkansas's chancellor — all covered on this week's podcast. /more/
  • Prosecutor Jegley closes last review of University of Arkansas financial matters

    June 2, 2014
    Pulaski Prosecutor Larry Jegley wrote Legislative Auditor Roger Norman today to inform him he'd found no probable cause to take action against University of Arkansas officials over events related to financial problems in the University Advancement Division. /more/
  • Study: Students sacrifice to pay top university executive salaries

    May 19, 2014
    The New York Times reports a study that shows higher student debt and greater use of part-time faculty at public universities with the highest paid top executives. A good time to look at university executive pay in Arkansas, with tuition increases up for consideration this week by the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees. /more/
  • Mainstreaming the GOP

    May 8, 2014
    Perhaps the greatest threat to the Arkansas Republican Party's continued growth in Arkansas is the selection of nominees unable to appeal to Arkansas's independent voters who are increasingly comfortable voting Republican but with a strong predilection for candidates with a veneer of moderation. /more/
  • University of Arkansas bottom line: All dishonesty is not a crime

    May 1, 2014
    Instant editorial/news analysis: The University of Arkansas shaded, obscured and hid the truth about a huge deficit in its advancement division. It got caught. Underlings took the fall. Dishonest behavior is not necessarily a crime and sometimes it has no consequences, outside of public shaming. /more/
  • Charlie Fuqua returns, warns of Arkansas Republicans getting slimed

    April 17, 2014
    Former state legislator Charlie Fuqua is back, warning Republicans in a mass email that "the only people who ever get slimed are the good guys." You know, good guys like he and Jon Hubbard, whose 2012 campaigns for state legislature were derailed after the Times excerpted all sorts of really nutty things they'd written in the past. /more/
  • More »


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