Final round of UA president search | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Final round of UA president search

Posted By on Thu, Jul 14, 2011 at 12:02 PM

STANLEY REED
  • STANLEY REED

The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees had a private interview session this morning with the third of four candidates for System president to succeed the retiring Alan Sugg. Up this morning was former trustee Stanley Reed of Marianna, a lawyer, farmer and former head of the Arkansas Farm Bureau.

Talking with reporters afterward, he was ready with a defense of his involvement in a couple of hot issues — work in a private school formed initially as a segregation academy in Lee County and his leadership of Farm Bureau in fighting to prohibit same-sex marriage and adoptions by unmarried couples, the latter drafted to target same-sex couples.

* RACE: Reed was a school board leader at the private Lee Academy in the 1990s. He said that the school today was an alternative to failed public schools and that, though Lee Academy has no black students and no black faculty members, it has an open enrollment policy, advertised on the website to address perceptions that the school is a racist academy. He said poverty has discouraged black students from attending. He said he didn't have an answer for failure of public schools in the Delta. But he said he'd worked for desegregation of the Lee County Farm Bureau, that his daughter had desegregated her UA sorority and his son had a black friend who'd been a university roommate and also a member of his wedding party. He said he'd sponsored African students to attend U.S. colleges and that any suggestion he encouraged inequality "had no merit at all."

* GAY RIGHTS: Reed acknowledged his belief in the "traditional" view of family as marriage between a man and woman. He said he'd uphold university policy that prohibits discrimination on account of sexual orientation. But did he support such a policy? His personal feeling is irrelevant, Reed said. He'd observe policy. And what if the University Board finally considers a policy to allow health insurance coverage of domestic partners? Reed said he'd have to disqualify from participating in that decision because of a "conflict of interest."

* POLITICS: Reed said he'd made a mistake in his brief flirtation with a race for U.S. Senate in 2010. He said it had produced sleepless nights and elevated blood pressure. He said, as events proved, he had a partisan problem — too much of a Democrat for some Republicans, too much of a Republican for some Democrats. He had considered briefly, then dropped out of, a Republican primary race, eventually won by John Boozman.

* EXPERIENCE: Though he lacks academic experience, Reed said his record in law, as a trustee, in farming and in general business and public service was the "right mix" for the job.

* SURPRISE: Though he identified himself as a conservative who didn't like tax increases, Reed spoke directly about his belief that a case could be made for an increased investment in higher education, even if it meant taxes of some sort, though he was not specific.

LATE BREAKING: Dale Charles, president of the Arkansas chapter of the NAACP, released letter this afternoon expressing opposition to Reed's selection. It arrived after the board began deliberations. The group said retired Judge Olly Neal had recommended against an endorsement of Reed. ON THE JUMP: You'll find a YouTube clip of a portion of Reed's response on racial questions.

FRANK OLDHAM
  • FRANK OLDHAM

The Board's final interview was with retired Jonesboro banker Frank Oldham. It then began deliberating on a choice about 3:30 p.m. Board chair Carl Johnson said he hoped a decision could be reached by 5 p.m. or so. Deliberations were to begin with a winnowing of candidates to the most popular, perhaps by initial secret ballot votes.

Oldham must have been a heckuva lecturer when he was a university faculty member. Meeting reporters, he gave one of the most spirited of the candidates' talks to the press, pitching his emphasis to the chancellors with whom he'd met on a more aggressive effort to raise public investment in colleges, the need for greater diversity of student bodies and a push for greater public involvement by campuses, a change that undoubtedly would come at some expense, too. I asked him, in short, if he knew he lived in Arkansas and had he seen the 2010 election results when he talked about pushing hard for more spending on education and more affirmative action in student bodies. "What's the alternative?" He said the only alternative was to try as hard as possible to move forward. Any other alternative is "not acceptable to me," he said. He said his desire for public service and love of the university led him to seek the position.

The Board met yesterday with John Churchill of Washington, head of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, and Donald Bobbitt, provost at University of Texas Arlington. All four candidates have extensive Arkansas ties. Only Churchill never attended UA.

Tags: , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (19)

Showing 1-19 of 19

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-19 of 19

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Open line and Civil War update

    More Confederacy defenders were on hand in Bentonville against imagined threats to a one of hte Confederate statues put up long after the Civil War to spin a narrative about the noble Lost Cause.
    • Aug 20, 2017
  • Three dead in WLR

    Three dead in suspected double murder-suicide in West Little Rock.
    • Aug 20, 2017
  • One dead in shooting at Buffalo National River

    KTHV reports a man was fatally shot Saturday at the Buffalo National River in Searcy County in what is being called an officer-involved shooting. No other details at the moment.
    • Aug 20, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

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.
  • Lynchings hidden in the history of the Hot Springs Confederate monument

    Hot Springs twice erupted into the kind of violence that has its roots in the issues left unresolved by the Civil War, and both times, it happened right where that monument to Confederate soldiers stands today.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

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