|Oren Paris, III|
Ecclesia College President Oren Paris Among New Indictments in Arkansas Bribery Scandal:
"The other shoe dropped today.
After Arkansas state representative Micah Neal was indicted for his part in a kickback scheme involving Western Arkansas non-profits, including Ecclesia College, speculation mounted that state senator Jon Woods would also be indicted. The fate of others mentioned in the Neal indictment was not as clear. However, today a federal grand jury released indictments of Woods, Ecclesia College president Oren Paris III and their mutual friend Randell Shelton, Jr.
Read the indictment here.
According to the indictment, Neal, Woods, Shelton and Paris conspired to defraud the citizens of Arkansas."
'via Blog this'
GJ - I have mixed feelings about this college. Many of the students were gifted, eager to learn, and great to know. The teachers and some staff were really self-sacrificing.
On the other hand, the boys in sports were protected from their utter lack of interest in an education. The Paris family members are uniquely unqualified to be leaders in higher education. Not one was academically qualified to teach college, let along run one. But the Paris family took most of the money for their own income while paying some people slave wages and even no wages for periods of time.
How many colleges have the former president's widow and his son running the school? One Oren Paris sister, Twila, runs the prep department for little kids. Another sister, Angie, runs the online program, in spite of her utter lack of qualifications for that job.
A brother-in-law fills various posts.
I taught four semesters there and wondered where all the money went. The main parking lot was Third World, even though there was constant money-raising going on. The main building was sad and the "dorms" pathetic. Blowing in the wind was the great unfinished building, insulation hanging from the beams.
They built one new addition while I was there. Called a classroom addition, it was anything but. The new part was more of a large meeting room, not good for teaching.
One room I was forced to use was little more than a coat closet, like a scene from The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. But Oren's home was a mansion, next door to his mother's large house. Those two buildings were better equipped and more spacious for classrooms than the Ecclesia campus.
The coaches for various sports owned the top floor of the main building. Lots of large rooms were left empty. The coaches seemed to absorb all the salaries for the school, but they never stayed for faculty meetings and gave easy summer As to players who earned Fs in for cheating or skipping those boring assignments.
The teams lost consistently, even to similar tiny colleges.
The problem with loans and gambling money in higher education is that each student represents a bag of money. They are not so much snowflakes as piggybanks.
If the student is foreign, he represents a bigger bag of cash with no federal loan strings attached. The South Korean students started with no English language skills but worked hard on it. The South American guys - recruited to win sports - stuck to Spanish and never learned English. Why bother? And they seldom won.
Arkansas gives gambling money grants to college students. I asked the students if they were against gambling. "No, that helps pay for college! It's great."
The Ecclesia board is calling Oren Paris "Dr." now. His DMin - which is not a doctorate - is from Laurel University.
To repeat: Ecclesia College has nothing further to say
Posted By Max Brantley on Fri, Jan 13, 2017 at 3:57 PM
The college earlier had acknowledged it had used a consultant to raise money and that it had indeed received state General Improvement Fund money (more than $600,000, we've learned), but that it had done nothing illegal in the process and had nothing more to say. If Neal has admitted to getting a cash kickback from a third party as a result of money he directed to Ecclesia, they know nothing and did nothing illegal, College President Oren Paris III has written.
I'm not clear what prompted the item today. I have reported this week on additional political involvement by Ecclesia. It had made other applications for GIF money. One of its board members, Joseph Wood, was recently elected Washington County judge thanks to some Republican machinations and disingenuous statements by Micah Neal. Reporting also has included some new details about ties in various personal relationships among those named in subpoenas for information issued by a federal Grand Jury. Perhaps other media have decided that new reporting is worth following up and Ecclessia is going the silent route.