UA System board plans public vote to pick next chancellor

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,010 views 

A public vote by the University of Arkansas System board of directors will be held on Nov. 18 on the Fayetteville campus to determine who will be the flagship university’s next chancellor.

The UA System announced Monday (Nov. 7) a special meeting of the board to be held at 11 a.m. The meeting will be held in person and via Zoom, originating at the Janelle Y. Hembree Alumni House.

“While the possibility remains that the issue could be earlier resolved by the board, it does seem appropriate that, if left unresolved, a public vote of the trustees be held on the campus that will most be affected by a decision,” C.C. “Cliff” Gibson III, board chairman, said in a statement.

On Oct. 14, the UA System announced that the selection process was down to two candidates because the board could not reach a consensus. The UA System announcement did not name the two candidates. It was later learned that Dr. Daniel Reed, presidential professor of computational science at the University of Utah, and interim UA Chancellor Dr. Charles Robinson were the top two.

Bobbitt announced on Sept. 2 that four finalists for the top job at the state’s flagship university and one of the top research universities in the nation. The finalists were: Robinson; Dr. Jay Akridge, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, Purdue University; Reed; and Dr. Cynthia Young, founding dean of the College of Sciences, Clemson University.

A Freedom of Information request from Arkansas Times uncovered a message from Robinson to Bobbitt in which it was learned that Bobbitt wanted to hire Reed, with Robinson being promised a return to his former job as provost but with unspecified extra duties and a salary equal to or greater than his interim chancellor pay. Robinson rejected the offer.