UPDATE: Why Lu Hardin Will Be Sentenced to Prison (Gwen Moritz Editor’s Note) – ArkansasBusiness.com
September 23, 2011 1 Comment
DISCLAIMER: I am a longstanding friend of Lu Hardin and I continue to count him as a friend.
The item linked above is a dispassionate review of the sentencing possibilities with some background on previous high-profile cases. This should not be taken lightly because even a stint in a “country club” facility is no barrel of lollipops. It is invariable true that the bigger you are, the harder you fall.
Defense attorney Chuck Banks did not make much of an issue of Hardin’s health. Considering his previous bouts with cancer, this is something that should be carefully monitored. Unfortunately, this will be an afterthought to the final outcome.
So what does all of this mean? First, that we are fallen human beings with a tendency to do wrong. Second, we are very prone to self-deceit. Could there possibly be a better example than the genial college president running off to the poker tables of Tunica? How on earth did Lu Hardin rationalize this misconduct? We are hard-wired to believe that whatever we happen to want or believe is right.
There is an institutional aspect as well. How much is a college president worth anyway? Seriously. Hardin led UCA to a better self-image and began to greatly improve the facilities. All of this came with the price of an expanded emphasis on athletics, tinkering with enrollment statistics, and raising the overall cost of higher education. So there are plenty of enablers who are very ready to urge a good man into a dangerous course.
Arkansas is not known to be an incubator of high ethical standards. Self-dealing, deliberate concealment and intimidation are widely understood to be legitimate means to whatever is going to be done. Lawmakers do not hesitate to trow their weight around at mere state employees and hot-shots from someplace else are brazen enough to bring along a platoon of personal pals to suck up to the public trough. It’s in the news every day.
Lu Hardin is a total mess and he is still a fine man. None of us are, at the core, much better, but he is (rightly) paying a very high price for his indiscretions. Lu is still my friend and I wish him well.
MONDAY MORNING UPDATE: Democrat-Gazette reports (arkansasonline.com) that Hardin received five years probation.