Henderson State University President Glen Jones announced Friday (July 19) he would resign as president, effective immediately. Jones has served as university president since March 2012.
“While serving as president of my alma mater has been one of the great blessings of my life, I believe the time has come for a new vision for our beloved institution,” Jones said. “I am proud of the many things we have been able to accomplish together during my tenure at HSU and am grateful for the efforts of our campus community in providing an outstanding educational experience for our students.”
Jones, a 1992 graduate of Henderson State, plans to return to campus as a professor in August 2020.
Faculty members at HSU had voted no confidence in Jones on Thursday and called on the institution’s governing board to relieve him, citing his alleged financial mismanagement and lack of transparency. Henderson State recently asked for a $6 million loan from Arkansas’ Budget Stabilization Trust Fund, which Jones has linked to unpaid student accounts.
Elaine Kneebone, General Counsel for Henderson State University, will serve as acting president until an interim search is completed. Kneebone is a 1997 graduate of Henderson State University with a bachelor of arts degree in history.
Kneebone studied law at the University of Canterbury as a Rotary Foundation Academic Year Ambassadorial Scholar in 1998 and completed her Juris Doctorate at the University of Arkansas School of Law in 2001.
Jones will be on sabbatical through the end of the fiscal year.
“Under Glen’s leadership, Henderson has attracted more incoming freshmen and graduate students at a time when competition for a shrinking pool of students is on the rise,” Johnny Hudson, Board chairman, said. “New academic programs, increased fundraising and enhanced student life on campus that began during his tenure will benefit Reddies both now and in the future. I am grateful for his service and wish him well as he returns to the classroom.”
ASU SYSTEM HELP
Also on Friday, the Board of Trustees approved a memorandum of understanding for the Arkansas State University System to provide financial, internal audit, information technology, institutional research, and legal support services. The MOU will run from Aug. 1 through Dec. 31, 2019.
“Henderson State University is an important institution in Arkansas, and the ASU System stands ready to assist its leadership as they navigate through some challenging times,” said ASU System President Chuck Welch. “As a former president of Henderson, I’m very familiar with the campus, excellent faculty and staff. I’m confident our team can provide valuable support and input to the acting president as decisions are made that will return Henderson to sound financial footing.”
Welch was president of Henderson State from July 2008 to April 2011 immediately prior to becoming president of the ASU System.
“We’ve got to get our financial house in order,” said HSU Board chairman Hudson. “This is an interim financial step and not an action to align institutionally with ASU or anyone else.”