|Updated: 8/28/2008 7:29 pm
||Published: 8/28/2008 12:53 pm
"I apologize and I should have held myself...to a higher standard of interpreting these types of matters...it's just unequivocally unacceptable."
After apologies and controversies the University of Central Arkansas has accepted the resignation of its president Lu Hardin. The move comes after weeks of mounting pressure surrounding a $300,000 bonus he received after a secret vote by UCA’s board of trustees.
As a result of his resignation the board then approved to buyout the remainder of his contract.
Hardin's buyout is more than $700,000 but that does not include the $300,000 bonus that got the controversy started. It is off the table for good. Money aside Lu Hardin says this is a difficult decision but it ultimately comes down to his health. After emerging from an hour long executive session for the UCA board of trustee’s president Lu Hardin had this to say:
"It’s with deep personal regret but also with a great pride for all we’ve accomplished together that I will be stepping down as the president of the University of Central Arkansas, effective September the 16th 2008. That is the 6th anniversary of being named UCA’s next president.”
This news stunned and disappointed some in the crowd. But Hardin went on to explain that he needs to step down because of his health.
“The cancer is a malignant tumor and is really quite serious. I’ve gotta deal with that.”
Hardin told trustees and later the faculty that this decision is also about allowing the University to recover from any damage done by him receiving a $300,000 bonus two years ahead of schedule.
Trustees reluctantly accepted his resignation and then spoke of his contributions to UCA.
"He didn’t just take enrollment from 8000 students to 10,000, he has taken it to 12,000 and then this year to 13,000 students. He didn’t just take the endowment from $9 million to $20 million. He has taken It to over $30 million," said Rush Harding the Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees.
The trustees quickly named Tom Courtway, UCA’s current general counsil as interim president. But he says he doesn't want the job permanently but he'll work hard during his time to help restore the university's credibility.
Hardin served as UCA’s president for six years. Before that he served 14 years as a state senator and six years as director of the Department of Higher Education.