Of all the people upset with UCA President Lu Hardin — taxpayers, faculty, journalistic scolds — his fellow university presidents and chancellors may be the most resentful. Because of Hardin's actions, the compensation of all the others is being closely studied too. And human nature being what it is, some people will find the educators' pay excessive all around. Until now, few cared whether the president of Southern Arkansas University had an expense account. Now, university heads who should have better things to do find themselves required to defend their own pay. “He's ruining it for everybody,” they may be saying.
Surely, though, none of the others will be caught in the same excesses as Hardin, who raised UCA to new heights before he overreached for himself. His was not some minor fudging of a travel allowance, but a pattern of deceitful acts committed in pursuit of higher pay and greater job security. Among his misdeeds, Hardin represented to the Board of Trustees that a memorandum urging payment of a large bonus to Lu Hardin — and also urging that the bonus be kept secret — had been written by other administrators. Really, he'd written it himself, unstinting in his praise for President Hardin. This is Finagling 101, and it doesn't belong at a state university, taught at taxpayers' expense.
Hardin has made an apology of sorts, though perhaps insufficient to teach UCA students a lasting lesson about right and wrong. The situation is further complicated by Hardin's revelation of a health problem. The Board of Trustees, with good reason to be peeved at the president, seems so far to be standing by their man. Privately, they must wish that Hardin himself would relieve them of the burden he's placed on them.
It appears that Hillary Clinton has been dropped from Barack Obama's list of possible vice presidential candidates. Why not add her to John McCain's?
Washington pundits have suggested that Obama choose a Republican or quasi-Republican as a running mate, on the theory that the presumed Democratic nominee needs moderating. Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska is one of the names put forward.
But it's the hawkish McCain, committed to continuing George Bush's horrific policies, who needs a touch of moderation, not to say humanity. Senator Clinton, a middle-of-the-roader who even voted for Bush's war, would be perfect. She could politely call to McCain's attention that the American people suffer while his fat corporate supporters grow fatter, that the country desperately needs universal health care, for example. A liberal Democrat, somebody like Sen. Tom Harkin, wouldn't do. McCain's too angry for that.