We just heard from a UCA faculty member who says that UCA President Lu Hardin has decided to resign on a $1 million buyout. Hardin had four years left on his contract.
UCA spokesman Warwick Sabin said that he hadn't heard that Hardin was going to resign as of 4:30 p.m. today.
Hardin is scheduled to speak to the UCA faculty tomorrow at 1:40 p.m. Faculty president Kurt Boniecki said that he hadn't heard about the resignation either, and added that Hardin's beginning-of-semester meeting with faculty and staff is an annual event that has been on the schedule for a while. We have calls in to both Hardin's office and to UCA board of trustees member Rush Harding. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: Looks like our caller was correct.
UCA Trustee Rush Harding returned our call and said there would be a meeting, previously unscheduled, of UCA's board of trustees at 11 a.m. tomorrow. Its approval would be necessary for a buyout of the four years remaining on Hardin's contract. While Harding wouldn't confirm our information that Hardin will resign, he said, "I'm confident the president will do what is in the best interests of UCA."
Harding also said Hardin "has the votes [on the board] to stay if he wants to."
Harding added that he hoped that when the dust settles, UCA can get back to its primary mission: educating students.
Given the episodes that led to this pass, one immediate question is the source of the $1 million payout. Does the university have that amount in reserve? The case of former Little Rock superintendent Roy Brooks established that it is legal to buy out contracts of public officials.
UPDATE: Other news media have confirmed that there is a special Board of Trustees meeting, but not our exclusive tip that Hardin will resign in return for a $1 million buyout, though sources indicate this is the deal.