U. of Central Arkansas President Resigns Amid Furor Over Secret Bonus

August 28, 2008

Lu Hardin, president of the University of Central Arkansas, resigned today in an attempt to end months of controversy over his bonus pay. More anger seems likely, however, as Mr. Hardin will receive a buyout package worth more than $700,000, according to the Associated Press.

Mr. Hardin, a former state senator, was under pressure for receiving a $300,000 bonus in May after a secret vote by the university’s Board of Trustees. The flames were fanned when news broke that a memorandum justifying his compensation had been written by Mr. Hardin himself. The memo was initially attributed to three university administrators.

A trustee, Rush F. Harding III, told The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that Mr. Hardin had put the interests of the university first by resigning. “He wants this to go away,” Mr. Harding said.

The university’s president since 2002, Mr. Hardin recently had surgery for a malignant tumor behind an eye.

Bad feelings over Mr. Hardin’s bonus have led to scrutiny of other college presidents in Arkansas, with newspapers and state lawmakers making public the compensation received by public university chiefs. —Paul Fain