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Records reveal ex-UCA official’s expense payments

Posted: November 13, 2011 - 9:47pm

Records show a recently demoted University of Central Arkansas administrator was repaid hundreds of dollars in expenses before he even applied for a job at the university and nearly $20,000 more soon after he applied and was hired.

The records obtained by a state newspaper show Alex Chen was reimbursed about $750 in for April 18-19, 2010. 

Chen’s application for associate vice president of an international program at UCA is dated April 24, 2010. 

Later in 2010, after interviewing for and being chosen for the post, Chen was reimbursed nearly $19,900 for the cost of travel from China for the job interview and for his move to Conway after he was hired.

The documents do not state a business reason for the April trip, and UCA administrators said they do not know why Chen made that trip.

The April reimbursement was for airfare between St. Louis and Little Rock and for Chen’s hotel and food bills. UCA spokesman Venita Jenkins said Chen was a guest of then-UCA President Allen Meadors, a longtime friend.

Neither Chen nor Meadors returned messages seeking comment.

UCA Provost Lance Grahn, who was Chen’s superior in the international program, said he understood that Chen “was coming (to the United States) because of a Meadors family event in St. Louis. It would have been very easy then to just drop down ... from St. Louis” to visit UCA.

But Grahn said he did not know the purpose of the visit.

Chen was demoted on Nov. 2 from associate vice president to marketing professor and interim President Tom Courtway notified the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service of allegations that some Chinese students Chen supervised had worked on campus more than visa regulations allow and, in some cases, without compensation.

Meadors resigned Sept. 2 after failing to tell trustees that food service vendor Aramark had offered $700,000 to help renovate the university-owned president’s home only if the company’s contract was renewed.  

The Arkansas State Police has an open investigation into the incident. Meadors has said he made an honest mistake and didn’t intend to mislead anyone.

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Happy Lumbee
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Happy Lumbee 12/04/11 - 01:09 pm
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same stuff different day

same thing at Pembroke. Chen was Meadors private tour guide for his China jaunts, got the Meadors boy a job in Beijing when he dropped out of the Naval Academy for two years. Chen was useless in his job at Pembroke. Ended up going elsewhere. Advice to Venita Jemkins - honey, they ain't as dumb there as they were in Pembroke. You had better be making your plans to return before you get fired next.

AMAZED again
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AMAZED again 12/04/11 - 01:43 pm
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UCA

Is there anything related to UCA that isn't corrupt or in shambles?

NoKidding
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NoKidding 12/04/11 - 01:54 pm
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Did not know the purpose.

Did he sign off on the reimbursement?

Oh, what was I thinking to ask the question here? This is an AP report. LCD is just passing it along.

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Rick Fahr 12/05/11 - 11:01 am
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arkansasonline.com

is the website you're looking for;

oh, what was I thinking, you're looking for a website that is free;

we had nearly 210,000 unique users to this site in november; if all you want to do is bash us because i can't devote a full-time reporter to uca and spend tens of thousands of dollars on mostly frivolous foi phishing expeditions, i can live with one fewer user;

NoKidding
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NoKidding 12/05/11 - 10:06 pm
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It is your town.

And I subscribe to the other paper. Sorry to see you measure your success by page hits. Maybe you should add some porn links to boost your ego even more!

Conwaydad
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Conwaydad 12/04/11 - 03:54 pm
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The next day in adg, the same

The next day in adg, the same reporter reported that "UCA Provost Lance Grahn" picked up Chen at the airport and took him to dinner with two other people and had at least two meetings with him the next day. meadors spent "$31.00" for an evening meal with chen at the end of his visit, according to the adg but did not meet with him during the visit except for the expensive meal mentioned. I think if I picked the guy up and met with him three time, I might know why he was here. Anyway, why do any of us care about this?

"UCA Provost Lance Grahn, who was Chen’s superior in the international program, said he understood that Chen “was coming (to the United States) because of a Meadors family event in St. Louis. It would have been very easy then to just drop down ... from St. Louis” to visit UCA."

"But Grahn said he did not know the purpose of the visit."

ArkansasTraveler
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ArkansasTraveler 12/04/11 - 07:49 pm
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UCA

It has been my experience that UCA is seriously lacking in effective management of the majority of programs across the campus. Each department seems to operate as a separate entity with little or no communication between them. Advisors that can't advise, professors who don't really understand how to educate students, little or no organization within administrative support agencies; these are just signs of a much larger problem. This university has gone through three presidents in a little over 10 years and Mr. Courtway will be very fortunate if he can keep the helm very long as well. I'm convinced that the very foundations of UCA are either corrupt or simply led by incompetent people. At this point I'm beginning to believe that a degree from a "pay your fee, get your B" for profit school like the University of Phoenix might be actually worth more than one from UCA.

RandyNewt1
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RandyNewt1 12/06/11 - 09:54 am
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Rick

You're are totally correct, we don't expect or want the LCD to have a cub reporter out at UCA reporting everything that moves out there.
The adg reporter writes more about UCA than the Echo. I bet she wasn't allowed to be on the ASU school paper and is seeking to make up for it now.

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