New UCA President Allen Meadors Called a Uniter

by Jan Cottingham  on Monday, Jul. 13, 2009 12:00 am  

Meadors stressed the importance of communication. "We need to be on the same page," he said. His job is to bring together the various constituencies of the university. And to do that, "you've got to build trust and relationships."

Asked the first thing he'd do if handed a magic wand, Meadors said, "get people feeling good about the university again. They all believe it's a great university, but it's been a tough year."

If building relationships and morale are his main goals, his main challenge, he said, is making the university financially healthy.

UCA, facing about $5.5 million in debts, in December announced a number of budget-cutting measures, including freezing salaries and hiring. Robert "Bunny" Adcock, interim vice president for financial services, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in February that UCA had been spending "at the rate of approximately $3.5 million over our income for about five years."

The university's operating budget is about $157 million, and it's now advertising for a permanent vice president of financial services.

Meadors' goal of financial health includes all aspects of UCA - the faculty, the buildings, the campus grounds, athletics.

"If we're going to have athletics, we're going to have to find a way for [the program] to be financially healthy without taking from the rest of the university. We will get there. That I promise."

The Democrat-Gazette, whose reporting brought to light many of UCA's problems, disclosed that the university's athletic department had tapped state money from nonathletic departments, some of which it had not reported to the state as athletic spending.

Meadors cited UCA's move to Division I athletics. "I've been here one whole day, but it appears to me" that the university didn't plan far enough ahead financially for the changeover. He used a metaphor: "You bought the car before you had the money to pay for the car. Now, you'll find a way to pay for the car because you don't want to give the car back, but it would have been easier if you'd had the money saved on the front end to buy that car." Or, he added, at least had a plan.

Challenges

Meadors' description of his achievements and style corresponds with that of others.

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke was founded in 1887 as an American Indian school and didn't open up to white students until 1953. After the U.S. Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954, the school was opened to all regardless of race.

 

 

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