Arkansas State University has tabbed 73-year-old Dr. Doug Whitlock to serve as chancellor during this academic year. Whitlock is Eastern Kentucky University’s president emeritus.
ASU will pay Whitlock $305,000 for his one school year stint, slated to begin Sept. 12. The school will also provide health insurance and will give Whitlock a house to live in, according to his contract.
“Doug has the experience and the character traits that I was hoping to find when I began this search,” ASU President Charles “Chuck” Welch said. “His academic and administrative background comes from an institution very comparable to Arkansas State University.”
The interim chancellor’s contract ends June 30, 2017, but it has a provision allowing Whitlock to remain with the school longer if a permanent chancellor hasn’t been named. Welch previously said he hopes to have someone hired this spring. Neither Whitlock nor Welch will be available to talk about the interim hire until Whitlock assumes his duties on Sept. 12.
Whitlock will replace Dr. Lynita Cooksey who was appointed as the temporary chancellor after Chancellor Tim Hudson resigned last month. A firestorm of controversy erupted after it was learned during an internal audit that Hudson tried to hire his wife, Dr. Deidra (Dee Dee) Hudson as the school’s full-time studies abroad director. The appointment would have been a violation of state law. When Dee Dee Hudson couldn’t take the permanent job, Hudson stalled the hiring of a director so that his wife could remain in charge of the program in a part-time capacity that didn’t violate state law. The audit revealed the program was chronically mismanaged.
A student exchange program was started in Lanjaron, Spain, by Dee Dee Hudson. ASU, at the direction of Tim Hudson, funneled at least $250,000 to Multisense, a company that provided assistance to students who were in the program. Multisense is owned by Grupo Sense. Tim Hudson sat on Grupo Sense’s board at one time, according to the audit.
He also hired Pablo Rubio, the son of Grupo Sense’s CEO Alfonso Rubio, to a $70,000 per year job working out of the chancellor’s office, according to the audit. Emails revealed that Hudson was in contact in October 2015 with a businessman in Spain to discuss the Spanish language program on the proposed ASU-Mexico campus that the university has partnered to build in Mexico. At one point, the businessman tells Hudson he would be interested in overseeing the program.
Hudson also received free trips abroad, a violation of state law. He also tried to use his position to influence several medical school admission offices to accept a relative at a reduced tuition cost. These, and other acts by Hudson, could be violations of Arkansas ethics laws. He has not been charged with any ethics violations or crimes to this point.
An Army captain, Whitlock joined the EKU staff in 1968 as the school’s director of publications. He rose through the ranks of the administrative office and earned a doctorate in higher education administration. He was appointed as the school’s vice-president for administrative affairs in 1998. He retired in 2003, but he continued to teach science classes for three more years.
“I am honored and very excited by the opportunity to serve Arkansas State University as its interim chancellor,” Whitlock said. “I have had other opportunities to serve in interim roles, but this is the first that truly appealed to me.”