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It's not a vo-tech school

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In conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce, the Farm Bureau pretty well runs the Arkansas legislature. Now it seeks to extend its sinister influence into the field of higher education. (Much as the Chamber has annexed Little Rock city government, forcing the board of directors to make a $200,000 annual contribution of taxpayers' money to help the Chamber work against the best interests of most of the taxpayers. It sounds like one of those "News of the Weird" features.)

All over Arkansas, Farm Bureau agents are agitating for the appointment of Stanley Reed as president of the University of Arkansas System, a position for which he is untrained and unsuited. A former president of the Farm Bureau, Reed is complicit in all its unsavory activities: Laws to prevent cruelty to animals are resisted fiercely by the Farm Bureau, which seems to believe every four-legged creature worthy of mistreatment. The Farm Bureau encourages hateful discrimination against homosexuals. The Farm Bureau ardently supports regressive taxation.

The academic world would be shocked by the hiring of Reed, but he's apparently acceptable to the Waltons, the super-wealthy family whose wishes are more like commands at the UA these days. Friends and alumni of the University should make their own voices heard to the Board of Trustees. Say no to Reed. He'd probably make more dogs and cats available for dissection in the biology lab, but the president of the state's flagship university needs more than that to recommend him.

The Farm Bureau calls for the UA to cater to in-state industry, but a university does not exist to provide eviscerators for poultry plants, nor greeters for discount stores. One of a university's highest purposes is to enable people to see through self-serving claptrap. That is not the purpose of the Farm Bureau.

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