The Pack Gets Some Reddie Spirit

Donovan Lee, Sports Editor

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Change is inevitable, but history remains forever. For Henderson, this is good news. After much
speculation, the Board of Trustees held a meeting on Oct. 24 to make the decision that could
rewrite history that has held strong since 1890.

The university’s major players met Thursday afternoon for their monthly business meeting. In
attendance were members of Henderson’s faculty, as well as Dr. Charles Welch, President of
the ASU system, and his finance team. Although the merger was held off for the final vote on
the agenda, other updates around the campus were discussed as well.

The meeting got underway with the previous meeting’s minutes were read, which included the
initial motion from board member Creed Spann to merge with the Arkansas State University
system “as quickly as possible,” and “expeditiously.” Trustee Bruce Moore made this request to
bring everyone up to speed before the vote would occur.

Interim President Elaine Kneebone spoke on the newly elected Vice President of Finance, Rita
D. Fleming. Fleming has over 30 years of experience in higher education, and is currently
finishing her tenure as the sitting Chief Finance Officer for the University of Arkansas
Department of Agriculture. She is expected to assume her role at Henderson beginning in
December.

Also discussed was the status of the chemical spill that took place in the Donald W. Reynolds
building just days after the return from fall break. Labs and classes are being relocated from the

Reynolds building as maintenance continues. The components of the spill have been detected,
but no evidence of illegal activity has been identified.

Brad Patterson, Vice President of Student Affairs, came forth to give new insight on the state of
the Office of Financial Aid. Patterson reports that the office has had success in the midst of
unforeseen circumstances and will continue to help students the best way they can as they
further resolve issues.

The final issue on the agenda was Henderson’s merger with the ASU system. Board President
Johnny Hudson stated that he has met with Rick Beard’s law firm for outside consultation. Other
trustees chimed in that they’d taken similar actions.

After the motion was made, the unofficial vote to begin merger negotiations was six to one, due
to concerns with payment to outside consultants about the issue. In addition, the question was
raised by board member Brown Hardman on whether the traditions of Henderson State
University would remain, such as the name, mascot, and spirit songs. Dr. Welch assured the
trustees that all historical aspects of the university would remain. The vote would be taken
again, only the second time would end in a unanimous decision in favor of the merger.

“We know it has been tough on everybody. It is not an easy situation, but we will get through it,”
said Board President Johnny Hudson. Negotiations will begin as soon as possible, with updates
from administration when new information arises.