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Lawmakers Question Legality of Broadway Higher Ed Appointment (Updated!)

Updated: Apr 13

Higher education. Lower expectations.


Is the pending appointment of former state Sen. Shane Broadway to head the Arkansas Dept. of Higher Education even legal? That is what two state lawmakers want to know!

Arkansas Reps. Allen Kerr and Jane English, both Republicans, have requested an opinion from Attorney General Dustin McDaniel as to whether Broadway’s appointment by Gov. Mike Beebe meets statutory muster. Broadway has been serving as the department’s interim director since February.

Questions were raised about the appointment of Broadway (pictured left in an undated file photo) when it was announced last month, after people noticed he doesn’t exactly meet the statutory requirements for heading the department. That is, unless you grade on a very, very steep curve, as Beebe has.

Preach on, lawgivers:

“Our focus is whether or not Governor Beebe’s selection of Shane Broadway to be the director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education follows the laws of this state,” said Rep. English.“This is not a question of whether Senator Broadway is capable of serving in this position but rather if he fulfills the legal requirements of the position and if a legally required search took place,” said Rep. Kerr.

We recently looked at how Broadway’s qualifications compare to those of higher ed chiefs in the states surrounding Arkansas—surprise, the Broadway appointment carries significantly less academic heft than is expected in neighboring states.

Not to be outdone, the Red Arkansas blog compared Broadway’s credentials to those of higher ed honchos in ALL 50 STATES. Oh, go ahead and guess how he stacks up.

You can open a full copy of English and Kerr’s request here (opens as PDF), and a news release from the state GOP follows at the jump.

ARGOP Officials Request AG Opinion on Shane Broadway Appointment

Little Rock, Ark. – State Representatives Jane English of North Little Rock and Allen Kerr of Little Rock today issued the following statements after requesting an Attorney General’s opinion concerning whether the appointment of Shane Broadway to Arkansas Director of Higher Education follows specific requirements outlined by Arkansas Law.

“Our focus is whether or not Governor Beebe’s selection of Shane Broadway to be the director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education follows the laws of this state,” said Rep. English.

“This is not a question of whether Senator Broadway is capable of serving in this position but rather if he fulfills the legal requirements of the position and if a legally required search took place,” said Rep. Kerr.

The request specifically addresses the requirements of a Director of Higher Education as outlined in Arkansas Code Annotated § 6-61-203. Representatives English and Kerr asked Attorney General Dustin McDaniel to provide the legal definition of a “search and selection process,” and whether or not he is of the opinion that the ADHE followed the law. English and Kerr also asked the Attorney General for various legal definitions in the law, including the definition of an “experienced educator,” and whether Broadway fits those definitions. (Link to original)

UPDATE: The head of the Higher Education Coordinating Board, which was slated to consider Broadway’s appointment on Thursday, tells the Arkansas News Bureau’s Rob Moritz that they’ll hold on the appointment while awaiting the AG’s opinion.

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