Thursday, May 1, 2014

University of Arkansas bottom line: All dishonesty is not a crime

Posted By on Thu, May 1, 2014 at 6:50 AM

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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.

I'm moved to write this by another effort by the Democrat-Gazette today to explain why obvious omissions of material facts by a top UA administrator, Don Pederson, (among others) were not deemed a crime in a prosecutorial review. 

Some legislators are still disgruntled. I get that. Top UA officials, from Chancellor G. David Gearhart down, seem to be getting away with having been fundamentally dishonest in attempting to prevent disclosure of financial problems. But we can't criminalize everything we don't like. A segment of the Republican majority sees it differently. They have been using Legislative Audit as a punishing tool.

Sometimes, damning audits are the best you can do. Move along. If the football team wins next fall, all will be forgiven.

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