by Max Brantley
John Brummett this morning sympathizes a bit with the blundering Board of Trustees of the University of Central Arkansas, led astray by former president Lu Hardin and not always as well-versed as it needed to be on campus operations and the not-so-intricate workings of the Freedom of Information Act. Appointees to state boards and commissions rarely are enmeshed in details, which are left to staff. When they are slippery like Hardin, that can be a problem.
Brummett also praises, as the Times has frequently, the work of Democrat-Gazette reporter Debra Hale-Shelton, who marks the sparrow's crippled fall at UCA. There was an interesting and related angle to all this in yesterday's news of a couple of federal grand jury subpoenas related to Hardin's days at UCA. One went to the school for computer information. Another went to Rush Harding, a member of the Board of Trustees. Harding, as an individual, is not covered by the FOI. But when he learned his subpoena related to UCA (that didn't take a genius to figure out) he provided it to UCA, which released it to media. You get the feeling that they are trying at UCA, though still stumbling, as with the recent closed discussion of an accreditation group's critical report on board management.