News » Letters

Cut Lu some slack

by

comment

Cut Lu some slack

I'm requesting more positive ink please in regard to UCA President Lu Hardin. If the man stormed the sidelines in a tacky polyester shirt, matching ugly pants and tragically white Pat Boones very few people, including members of the media, would even blink at a $300,000 bonus.

President Hardin's work at UCA is a stellar success. Kids are learning, and wait; they are even staying long enough to GRADUATE. This small town university is enjoying unprecedented positive public relations. Its alumni have more credibility in the market place than ever before. Appears President Hardin has assembled a team that is thinking outside the box, then delivering on student, parent and taxpayer investments. What more can we ask as a state or as a region?

Why President Hardin even had the humility to ask the local people that live under the financial umbrella of UCA to, of all things, show some community spirit by wearing their town's school colors on game day. Fancy that, asking football fans to worship at the altar of an additional Arkansas team.

Have no dog in the UCA goodwill hunt. We don't live in Conway and no one in our family attended school there. Have never even met Lu Hardin. Simply admire anyone who is a creative problem solver and helps others do well. Appreciate, too, his willingness to admit a mistake — reflects refreshingly good character and an important life lesson for his students.

Mary Olivia Cornwell

Little Rock

The shackled inmate

I deeply appreciate the Arkansas Times mention of the 8th Circuit ruling in the Shawanna Nelson case. That the court determined restraining pregnant, incarcerated women during transport, labor, and immediately following delivery by the Department of Correction to be lawful is a violation of good sense, good medicine, and disregards the realities of the mother-infant, mother-child relationship. We should all be grateful to Shawanna Nelson, a human rights hero, for her amazing courage and commitment to justice for her pursuit of the only possible remedy for ridding us of this perverse practice of restraining women with either metal restraints or the “soft restraints” put in place immediately following her lawsuit filing.

I provided child birth education and parenting classes at the women's unit of ADC from 1992-2006. Shawanna was a member of the group. She returned to our class, heartbroken and in physical and psychological pain. As a former La Maze instructor, I was horrified at the practice of shackling and handcuffing laboring women. I have spent many hours listening to these new mothers, the sense of humiliation, their endurance of these perversions, and a pervasive sense of unworthiness because their babies were born under these conditions.

When Mrs. Nelson filed her lawsuit, I went with two legislators and met with ADC officials. These legislators conceded to the use of soft restraints, rather than insisting on the abolition of the practice. The Aging, Children and Youth subcommittee met in 2004, but our testimony and 2,500 letters from national organizations and medical officials deploring the practice was not heard. The deal had been made with ADC and no further discussion was permitted. ADC would use the “soft” restraints and pregnant women would be allowed to become trustys and reach a classification that would exclude the use of restraints. The issues of proper prenatal care, the withholding of typical anesthesia (epidurals) for women who often were uninformed about the childbirth process, receiving childbirth education only if they were in my prenatal/postpartum class were mentioned in the meeting held with ADC, the legislators, and myself, but there was no follow-up.

Arkansas is not the only state to have this practice, but recently Sen. Durbin and the federal Bureau of Prisons agreed to stop this process. It perverts the childbirth process, may endanger the welfare of the mother and/or the newborn, and potentially harm the long-term mother-child relationship.

Dee Ann Newell

Director

National Advocacy Partnership for Children of Incarcerated Parents:

A 14-State Coalition

Add a comment

Clicky