The University of Central Arkansas Board of Trustees voted 5-2 today to hire Dr. Allen Meadors as the next president of UCA. That will be dependent on negotiating an acceptable deal.
The motion was to begin negotiation. No pay figure was discussed. "No" votes came from Trustees Kay Hinkle and Bobby Reynolds.
Meadors is a UCA graduate and is currently chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. There had been some grumbling about Meadors in the runup to today's meeting. One of five finalists dropped out because he thought the search process had been flawed by a decision to allow Meadors' late application. Meadors also drew a number of negative comments from faculty, staff and students who attended speeches by the final four candidates and filled out comment forms afterward. His were more negative than those given several other candidates, but the evaluation process wasn't scientific and depended in great measure on who turned out for each speech. Trustees apparently saw things differently.
Most of today's meeting was in private. Nobody said anything publicly about the merits or demerits of any of the candidates. Hinkle said she voted her conscience, but she wouldn't present a stumbling block to Meadors' hiring. Reynolds also made similar remarks.
Meadors is a native of Van Buren and earned a degree in business administration from UCA. He holds several advanced degrees, including a Ph.D. in administration and education from Southern Illinois.
Meadors would succeed Lu Hardin, who resigned after a spate of controversies over bonuses and other financial issues. Tom Courtway is UCA's acting president. He recently was given a pay raise and contract extension to continue as the school's general counsel.
Some of the early Twittering (search UCA at Twitter.com) turns up a distinct strain of a feeling that this was another one of those done deals.
-- Reporting by Gerard Matthews
Finalist Brad Bartel wrote in withdrawing:
... Your inclusion of Dr. Meadors as a finalist, who applied so late is inappropriate relative to those candidates who followed all deadlines in getting their applications to you.
UCA is an institution that needed a clean selection process for your next president in order to begin building a positive identity. I fear you have missed this critical opportunity.