CONWAY, Ark. — The former chancellor at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke and former president of the University of Central Arkansas pleaded guilty recently to violating the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. The charge, which was related to destroying a public document in 2011, was a misdemeanor.
According to the Log Cabin Democrat, Allen Meadors originally was charged with tampering with a public record, also a misdemeanor. As a result of his plea, he ended litigation and was fined $250.
Meadors’ charge stemmed from a long-running investigation into a possible mishandling of a “grant” proposed by Aramark food vendor that was placed before university trustees in 2011, according to the Log Cabin. A $700,000 proposal to extend renovations of the UCA president’s residence was presented without strings attached by then board of trustees Chairman Scott Roussel.
In the Aug. 12, 2011, letter, Aramark’s Brad Crosson wrote to Vice President for Finance and Administration Diane Newton about an “unrestricted grant” to renovate the president’s home. In exchange, the company asked UCA to agree to “an extension of our contract by seven years, to May 31, 2019, and request buyback protection.”
Newton reportedly told news outlets previously that Meadors asked her to destroy the letter.
Meadors resigned as president of the university in September 2011 after trustees learned that Aramark’s offer was contingent upon a seven-year contractual agreement in which Aramark would be UCA’s sole food service provider. UCA agreed to pay Meadors more than $500,000 and another $225,325 from separate funds to buy out the remainder of his contract, the Log Cabin said.
According to the Log Cabin, Meadors said that in 17 years in the education community that he “had never been more disappointed,” and he apologized, taking full responsibility for the “oversight that has caused disappointment and concern.”
Although Meadors has resolved his issue with the university over the food service contract, his troubles continue. A recent article in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported that he was found to have viewed enough online pornography while still university president to cost the university almost $1,000 in data usage in one week.
The Echo, the university’s student newspaper, reported that Meadors used up almost $1,000 in UCA-paid data plans on a university iPad in one week while overseas. While president, he made three trips to China and one to Mexico.
According to reports, at the time AT&T data plans cost $199 a month for 200 megabytes. Meadors used fives times that much in one week.
According to the article in the Gazette, UCA Director of Web Development Brent Passmore said “e-mail and regular surfing of the web would not consume that many megabytes” and that Meadors’s browsing history included visits to Mr. Skin, a website for celebrity photos and videos.
Meadors served as chancellor at UNCP from 1999 until he resigned in June 2009 to become president of the University of Central Arkansas, where he attended college as an undergrad. During his time at UNCP, he developed a reputation for his ability to understand the diversity and history of the university, brought football back to UNCP after a 50-year absence and UNCP doubled in the number of staff, faculty and students.