UCA President Lu Hardin announced his resignation to the university board of trustees about 10 minutes ago, David Koon reports from Conway.
In a statement read to the board, Hardin said he regretted his handling of a secret $300,000 bonus he apparently engineered in July.
Hardin, who has had surgery for eye cancer, said "I must make recovery my priority at this time."
Rush Harding, a member of the board, said last night that recovery of a focus on education was the school's priority.
Nothing has yet been disclosed about the terms of the resignation. Hardin had four years left on his contract; word is that he'll receive a $1 million buyout.
UCA Vice President Tom Courtway has been named interim president.
The board just issued this statement:
"The board of trustees has negotiated a buyout of President Hardin's contract. Due to his health considerations, the president has been granted a sabbatical for the balance of this fiscal year. On July 1, 2009, there will be a balance of $670,162.35 on the public portion of the president's contract. Those monies will be paid from the trustees' discretionary fund in a lump sum or over the 39-month term as structured by Vice President Tom Courtway. Please be reminded that these funds are generated by bookstore or other auxiliary revenues. Pursuant to the recent attorney general's opinion, no private or deferred compensation will be paid with those funds.
The president also has a private portion of his contract of $47,570.00 annually that decreases each year. The UCA Foundation has agreed to fund the current year private fund portion of the president's salary. Any future private fund portion to be paid would be at the discretion and consideration of the foundation board.
The president's compensation for the balance of this sabbatical year is already funded in our 2008-09 budget. This agreement will not impact our current year's budget in any way.
The severance package that is funded on July 1, 2009, or on terms suggested by Tom Courtway, will be paid with funds from the Trustees Discretionary Fund. Any payment for the private portion of the president's contract will be paid from private gifts restricted specifically for that purpose.
We wish the president well as he battles his health issues and we appreciate the fine work he has done on behalf of UCA."
UPDATE II: The board of trustees vote on compensation was 5 to 1. Dr. Michael Stanton was the sole no vote. He's in surgery and unavailable for comment. Dr. Harold Chakales was not present for the vote.