Harding changes mind on lottery UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Friday, October 16, 2009

Harding changes mind on lottery UPDATE

Posted By on Fri, Oct 16, 2009 at 4:01 PM

From a student newspaper article to a Tweet to a blog item here to the world via news service ran the story about Harding University's decision to allow students to purchase lottery tickets, despite a student handbook rule against gambling on or off campus. The university is affiliated with the Church of Christ.

Today, the school reversed course. The school will enforce the gambling ban after all. I haven't gotten a callback, but I do have on the jump a copy of the statement that college president Dr. David Burks read in chapel today. He says he made a mistake and one that made the college look hypocritical.

As a practical matter, as he acknowledges, it won't be an easy rule to enforce, beyond not selling scratch-offs at the campus bookstore. You can't smell lottery tickets on a student's breath, after all.

I'd guess the college caught some flak.

I'd further guess that the university still will accept tuition payments made possible by lottery-funded scholarships.

Burks' statement is strong.


Statement on the Lottery
President David B. Burks
Presented in Chapel Services Oct. 16, 2009

The newly implemented Arkansas State Lottery has been in the news in recent weeks, and Harding’s position on the Lottery has been the subject of several media reports. The way this issue has unfolded recently is why I am making this statement today.

I want to begin by saying, “I made a mistake, and I’m sorry.” As I know my own heart, I know it was not a mistake of intention, but it was a mistake of judgment. My intention was to express in our policy the reality that it will be very difficult to enforce any prohibition against the lottery. In an attempt to avoid one appearance of hypocrisy, I made a decision that has itself come to be viewed as hypocritical.

Much to my regret, the announcement that we were “not seeking to discipline students” for participation in the lottery was perceived in two ways that I did not intend. Some saw this as an indication that we did not view the lottery to be gambling. Everyone, including every proponent of the lottery, knows that playing the lottery is a form of gambling. Another misconception—and this one has been especially painful for me—is that Harding has “sold out” in exchange for scholarship money. Some have thought that we were actually endorsing the lottery, because Arkansas college students stand to receive scholarship money from the State of Arkansas, which has been generated by the lottery.

So today I need to make things clear about this issue. First, I have always believed that gambling is wrong; it is wrong to try to get something for nothing. I have taught this many times and in many ways through the years. The Bible is clear that every Christian should work for his or her living. Work, not luck, is the appropriate basis for one’s wealth. The stewardship of the blessings God provides us ought to be a core value for each Christian. I believe that honest, hard work fits into what the Book of Proverbs calls “the way of wisdom” and that gambling fits into what Proverbs regards as the way of “folly.” I also believe that gambling promotes social injustice because the negative consequences of gambling fall disproportionately on the poor and the desperate—the people who can least afford to lose their money.

So you can see that my decision with respect to the enforcement protocol relative to the lottery has sent the wrong message. Therefore, after a lot of prayer and discussion with key leaders on campus, I am today announcing that we are returning to the simple, straightforward policy on gambling that is stated on page 10 of the Student Handbook: “Gambling or wagering on or off campus” is “prohibited.” This includes playing the lottery.

The university’s response to students found to be participating in the lottery is the same as it has been in the past: that is, a sequential progression of sanctions beginning with a written and/or verbal reprimand.

It is important to me that all people, both here and away from campus, know that Harding University stands firmly against gambling. Our goal is to graduate students of deep faith who have the skills and values to work hard, to make a good living, to be solid citizens, to strengthen their communities, and to be very generous with the blessings that God places in their hands.

I know that some people will not agree with this decision. However, I feel this is the right decision based on what Harding stands for.

From the ArkTimes store


Comments (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Charter school accountability: Non-existent in Arkansas

    A state audit finds charter school spending violated state law, but the state Education Department says it has no responsibility for ensuring proper management of charter schools. Say what?
    • Mar 5, 2016
  • Policy group urges opposition to new charter seats in Little Rock

    The Arkansas Public Policy Panel is urging supporters of the Little Rock School District to tell state Board of Education members they oppose applications to be heard this week to dramatically expand the number of charter school seats in the Little Rock School District.
    • Mar 9, 2016
  • Judge Griffen: Why black lives matter

    Another few words from Judge Wendell Griffen growing from the controversy over the sale of Black Lives Matter T-shirts at the state black history museum — removed by the administration and restored after protests from Griffen and others stirred by a story in the Arkansas Times:
    • Mar 13, 2016

Most Shared

  • Take yourself there: Mavis Staples coming to LR for Central High performance

    Gospel and R&B singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples, who has been inspiring fans with gospel-inflected freedom songs like "I'll Take You There" and "March Up Freedom's Highway" and the poignant "Oh What a Feeling" will come to Little Rock for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High.
  • Klan's president

    Everything that Donald Trump does — make that everything that he says — is calculated to thrill his lustiest disciples. But he is discovering that what was brilliant for a politician is a miscalculation for a president, because it deepens the chasm between him and most Americans.
  • On Charlottesville

    Watching the Charlottesville spectacle from halfway across the country, I confess that my first instinct was to raillery. Vanilla ISIS, somebody called this mob of would-be Nazis. A parade of love-deprived nerds marching bravely out of their parents' basements carrying tiki torches from Home Depot.

Most Recent Comments



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation