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Set sights higher, UA

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Frank Broyles had a rule about not hiring a head coach who had no previous experience as a head coach. Farmers, bankers, even editorial writers were considered unsuitable to fill coaching vacancies. The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees could do worse than follow Broyles' example, much worse.

The trustees are seeking a new president for the U of A System, and it's reported that Stanley Reed of Marianna and Frank Oldham of Jonesboro are two of those under serious consideration. Neither is a professional educator; both should be disqualified for that reason alone. In the case of Reed, there are several others. We don't know much about Oldham, a banker, except that he and Reed are both former members of the UA Board of Trustees themselves, which is no qualification at all to be president. Trustees are appointed because they've made handsome financial contributions to politicians. If a university degree is to mean anything, presidents must be held to a higher standard. Cronyism is not a legitimate major.

Reed, a farmer, is a former president of the Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation, one of the state's stronger and more regressive special-interest groups. Under Reed's leadership, it fought savagely against legislation to stop the torture of animals, and it supported initiatives to discriminate against gay people in marriage and adoption. And speaking of discrimination, Reed has supported a segregationist academy in Lee County. His children attended it. The Waltons are already working through UA to undermine the public schools. They need no help from Reed.

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