The simple answer, of course, is that nothing happened. Ok, that's not entirely true -- our best source left a position in the Heritage Center and our gossip triangulation became tougher.
But the choice was McLarty. It was always going to be McLarty. It was never going to be anyone but Bruce McLarty.
If you were someone who thought the charade of a "presidential search" indicated that this was not a preordained reality, you simply don't know the real Harding. Oh, sure, there were board members who disagreed with this decision (even vehemently so), but those board members are marginally influential at best. And no doubt many of you were humored by the transparency demonstrated by ACU and OC as they searched for new presidents, even thinking Harding would publish a list of finalists and ask for feedback on these finalists.
Autocracies don't behave that way.
Bruce McLarty is a nice guy and an intensely spiritual man. But so too were the other four men considered finalists. McLarty was picked for one reason and one reason alone: he's the one person who will be most easily controlled by David Burks. Not only has Dr. Burks successfully "board-packed," the board members chosen to screen the process for selecting Harding's newest president were the closest confidants of Burks (Burks even performed the wedding of one of these individual's kids). Burks will now take his place on Harding's board and continue to be the most powerful individual in Searcy. Somewhere George Benson is smiling: GSB could never have anticipated the autocracy his college would one day become.
We at HUPS are in possession of notes from some recent faculty meetings (see just one screen shot below for proof), and in those meetings it was clearly articulated that the university considers its' "peer institutions" to be Freed-Hardeman and Oklahoma Christian. The selection of Bruce McLarty cements this decision. The message is clear: like Freed-Hardeman and Oklahoma Christian, Harding will see as its primary and exclusive constituency the center-right Churches of Christ in the South and Midwest. We don't think this is a wise decision, but it is clearly the decision of today's Harding.
If you want your kids to go to a Church of Christ finishing school, send them to HU, FHU, or OC. If you want them to go to a university, it's looking increasingly the case that you'll want them to go elsewhere.
Except for the fact that unlike Harding, Oklahoma Christian conducts itself with transparency.
We wish the best to