University of Arkansas Pine Bluff chancellor Lawrence Davis, 74, announced his retirement, effective May 25, in a faculty-wide email today. "Over these years, with limited resources, I served to the best of my ability," he wrote. Davis's retirement comes in the wake of controversy. Four UAPB staff members were recently fired after an April 2010 internal audit of the Harrold Complex student dormitories revealed payroll and purchasing discrepancies to the tune of $700,000. This is the audit report.
UA System President Donald R. Bobbitt issued the following statement:
"I am grateful to Chancellor Davis for his service to UAPB, its students, faculty and staff, alumni and the University of Arkansas System. Chancellor Davis’ tenure at UAPB has seen the institution grow in both size and prominence. The transformation of the campus physical plant and the approval of the doctoral program in aquaculture and fisheries are just two of the many accomplishments achieved under his leadership. As a student, faculty member, dean and chancellor, Dr. Davis has given almost 50 years of his life to UAPB, and we are appreciative of his service.
As we move toward Dr. Davis’ official retirement on May 25, I will appoint an interim chancellor to serve in the position until a search for a permanent successor is complete. During that time, we will involve the UAPB students, faculty, staff and alumni, along with community and state leaders, in a national search for our next chancellor."
Ben Beaumont, a University spokesperson, wouldn't speculate on reasons why Davis chose early retirement (his contract had two years remaining), but it's widely known that Davis has taken a lot of heat on the auditing scandal. Terms of the retirement are a year's salary and relinquished tenure. Prior to being appointed chancellor, Davis was Dean of the Arts and Sciences College.
The Jefferson County prosecutors have turned the case over to the state police.