Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway) is vociferously protesting on his Facebook page a committee’s choice of Arkansas Tech University in Russellville for the 2019 Arkansas Governor’s School instead of Hendrix College in Conway, which has sponsored the program for rising seniors since its inception 38 years ago.
UPDATE: The committee has indeed recommended Tech over Hendrix and UCA and the state Board of Education will consider the recommendation Sept. 13.
It makes sense that Rapert, as Conway’s senator, would protest. But it’s unusual, too, given Rapert’s ultraconservative positions and because there have been complaints from right-leaning legislators and that students are exposed to dangerous, left-wing ideas at Governor’s School.
“I cannot accept this result,” Rapert wrote in a lengthy post yesterday. He claims there were “aberrations in scoring,” and said he has met with Hendrix President Dr. Bill Tsutsui, who he said was disappointed but gracious.
I was advised a few days ago that the committee actually gave Hendrix College in Conway the highest cumulative score during their evaluations, ranking Arkansas Tech University second and the University of Central Arkansas third. … The highest score typically translates to the “winner” to the “victor” in a competitive process.
Rapert, who is the co-chair of the Arkansas Legislative Council higher education committee, said he “looked forward to the Arkansas State Board of Education reviewing this matter, investigating what happened and ensuring that this process is cleaned up and we never face such a horrible mess in the future.” He urged former students and residents in Conway to let the state Board of Education know about their Hendrix experience and their opposition to moving it to Tech.
Jerry Cox, the president of the Family Council, was turned down from a teaching position at the school and suggested on Facebook that it was because he was a Christian, the Times reported in February. In response, state Rep. Mark Lowery (R-Maumelle) assured Cox that “significant change was coming” and he’d been working on that change “for months.”