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Asa as U of A president?

There is no vacancy yet, but some people with ties to former Governor Asa Hutchinson are mentioning his name as a possible future president of the University of Arkansas.  Like most people, you may be thinking “that’s crazy talk.” But we are here to tell you why it is a real possibility.

Here is our COUNT DOWN of the FIVE REASONS Asa Hutchinson could be the next president of the University of Arkansas System.

#5 Ground swell of support. In the recent Republican Presidential Primary, Asa’s support base in Arkansas was clear. Despite eight years as Arkansas’ governor, Asa received a measly 7,369 votes (that is from Republicans and crossover Democrats). That gave him approximately 2.8 percent of the vote. To you it may seem like an embarrassingly low number of votes for a “favorite son” of Arkansas, but low appeal to Republicans means high acceptance in academic circles.

#4 Asa won’t offend leftist academics. Radical left academics will accept Asa for his left leaning stands. For example, the left will give him credit for: (A) Opposing any legislation to prohibit college campuses from being sanctuary campuses for illegal aliens, (B) Opposing the protection of minors from chemical castration and other transgender procedures, (C) Opposing the protection of students from having to use bathrooms with people of a different biological sex, (D) Opposing a ban on Islamic Sharia law in Arkansas courts, and (E) Watering down religious freedom legislation.

#3. Academics and money from China. When the Trump administration warned states about Confucius Institutes being an arm of the Communist Chinese Party, Asa stayed silent on UCA’s Confucius Institute. Plus, academics wanting grants from Communist Chinese interests won’t need to worry about Asa, since Asa’s law firm was making money from Communist Chinese businesses while he was Governor.

#2. There is precedent for a politician with no (or almost no) experience becoming a university president. After serving three terms in the U.S House of Representatives, Ray Thornton ran for the U.S Senate but lost. Thorton became president of Arkansas State University and then president of the University of Arkansas System. Thorton then returned to politics, winning a seat again in the U.S. House of Representatives. But Mr. Thorton technically had some experience in higher education. After losing the U.S. Senate race, Thornton became “involved in education, leading a consortium for cooperative academics at Henderson State University and Ouachita Baptist University, located side-by-side in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.[i]

If Asa wants to make money while waiting to return to politics, being a college president is a much better path than, for example, becoming a lobbyist for a huge corporation or the Communist Chinese.


# 1. Asa appointed most of the members of the Board of Trustees! Let’s do the math. There are 10 members of the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas. The members serve for 10-year terms and terms are arranged so that one member’s term expires each year. The members are appointed by the Governor. Asa served as Governor for eight years and that should be eight appointments out of ten. Governor Sarah Sanders has served for just over 15 months.

Receiving only 2.8 percent of the vote isn’t so bad if eight of those voters were members of the board of trustees.

No experience and just off a presidential campaign that didn’t make a blip on anyone’s radar, don’t worry. When you have appointed nearly all the members of the Board of Trustees, does anything else really matter? That’s politics in Arkansas.

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Correction: After being president of ASA, Ray Thornton became president of the U of A System.


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