I am writing this letter concerning the imminent departure from the University of Arkansas Department of History of Dr. David Lincoln Chappell, the award-winning author of “A Stone of Hope: Prophetic Religion and the Death of Jim Crow.” Dr. Chappell received his B.A. from Yale University in 1982 and his Ph.D. from University of Rochester in 1992. Since receiving those degrees, Dr. Chappell taught at the University of Arkansas on the subjects of civil rights and race relations as well as American social and intellectual history. In addition, he has published “Inside Agitators: White Southerners in the Civil Rights Movement” and numerous articles. He has also edited a special edition of the Arkansas Historical Quarterly on the Little Rock Crisis. At the moment, he is completing a major work on the legacy of Martin Luther King. All of Dr. Chappell’s works have received the highest professional accolades. He is treasured both by his colleagues in the department and his students. He is a rare individual, who certainly deserves the endowed chair he has been awarded at the University of Oklahoma. Here, however, he will be sorely missed.
I write not merely to call attention to our loss in the history department. Your readers are surely aware that the climate at the University of Arkansas has been upset in recent months by scandals concerning the loss of recruited football players and an offensive coordinator, the retirement of athletic director Frank Broyles, the firing of basketball coach Stan Heath and the alleged personal and professional misconduct of football coach Houston Nutt. All of these issues have garnered enormous attention in the media. What puzzles me is that the departure of student athletes and coaches attracts the immediate attention of the board of trustees and the press, whereas the loss of an outstanding professor such as Dr. Chappell or Dr. Christopher Hill, who left the philosophy department several years ago for Brown, scarcely bothers those charged with the leadership of Arkansas’s flagship university. In addition, other professors are reputed to have taken positions in other institutions in the last year without undue concern. It certainly seems odd that the university readily found $90,000 for a new basketball coach, while simultaneously claiming inadequate funds to purchase new books for Mullins Library. I find these facts disturbing not only as a student, but as someone who is concerned with the overall standing of our institution in the community and the nation.
Do not the backward priorities of the University of Arkansas warrant examination? Perhaps I am naive, but should not an institution of higher learning focus primarily on education, rather than athletics? Or has the University of Arkansas evolved into a tax-supported entertainment and recreational facility with an ever diminishing academic component? The official and public disinterest in Dr. Chappell’s departure suggests the latter.
David Warren Kirsch
I wonder if the right-wing Republibaptist National Rifle Association enthusiasts ever thought of having their folks in Washington D.C. enact a law REQUIRING each citizen to own a handgun. Just think! They then could hold it to folks’ heads and make them go to the RIGHT church.
And of course, they could just as readily brandish it to keep gays and lesbians from entering, too.
Just a thought! That Second Amendment surely had to be included for their protection from those they most fear.
Living in Pine Bluff I don’t have an interest in the Little Rock school issue, other than what it does to the attitude of those who might move here, bring their business here, little things like that, but it is HIGH DRAMA.
Max Brantley’s comments May 4 were very reasoned and rounded out what I’ve read in the state newspaper and other publications. The question really is “Why?”. These are intelligent people doing silly things. Too much empowerment perhaps? Too much “I’m so smart I can do what I what.” So far, they have all made a mess of a simple issue. If he’s not doing the job, then buy out the contract, for just and proven cause.
There is way too much attitude in all this and very little reasoning, or even thinking through the issue.
Well, if it gets worked out, we’ll have to find another source of entertainment. There is always Hog Nation. Or my stepdaughter and prom.
Ad watchSecurity company ad on Channel 7 today talking about the benefits of their services and products, with moving graphics touting that they provide “Piece of Mind.” I don’t want a security company providing me “Piece of Mind.” I get it at work; why pay for it?
The Nutri-Systems ad running on cable networks I really love: “My wife does not find me as disgusting now.” I guess nothing will overcome it. Perhaps she should just leave him
John Wesley Hall
If you’ve been wondering what is wrong with the Arkansas school systems, I want to give you a clue. The salaries of the system administrators rank 10th in the nation while the teachers’ salaries rank much lower. This should be an eye-opener along with the fact that most of the administrators have never had any experiences with the workings of a school room.
Regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision limiting abortion rights, your editorial April 26 contained the key to the whole thing: “The admitted purpose of the ruling was to force the justices’ own religious beliefs on others.” Praise be to you and your paper for your intelligent stand on this issue. It seems to all come down to religious beliefs. Now where, pray tell, are the scientific facts? The scientific facts may be found in the jails and prisons of our unwanted children who have grown up to become criminals.