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story.lead_photo.caption The Sentinel-Record/File photo - The residential building at the campus of Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts

University of Arkansas System President Donald Bobbitt and its administration have been made aware of the issues raised at Monday's Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts Board of Visitors meeting, a spokesman said Friday.

University of Arkansas System Director of Communications Nate Hinkel responded Friday to requests made by the newspaper to Bobbitt for comment regarding concerns raised during the meeting.

"President Bobbitt and the University of Arkansas System administration are aware of the recent ASMSA Board of Visitors meeting and the issues that were discussed. ASMSA is held to the same high standards as our other various campuses, units and divisions around the state, perhaps even more so considering it is the only high school within the UA System and because of the glowing national recognition it continues to receive," Hinkel said.

"The UA System Administration continues to have an open line of communication with ASMSA Director Corey Alderdice and his administration, as we do with our other institutions. President Bobbitt has recently communicated the UA System's commitment to safety, academic success and well-being of ASMSA students to their parents and reiterated the important role the school plays within the system and the state. The System remains committed to ensuring a bright future for ASMSA and its talented students, faculty and staff."

The comments follow allegations and grievances voiced during Monday's board of visitors meeting and comments made by state Rep. Brandt Smith, R-District 58, after the meeting that a legislative review of ASMSA might be forthcoming.

Concerns raised included disapproval of the dismissal of former ASMSA employee Valerie Carpenter; the displeasure and discomfort caused to parents and students caused by the residence life staff's mandatory participation in an activity known as a "privilege walk" that allegedly became a source of bullying; fear of retaliation toward faculty and students from administration; and an overall lack of transparency from school administration.

A 17-year-old male student alleged he was sexually assaulted on campus and that no action had been taken by administration after he reported the incident three weeks ago, with the alleged assailant remaining on campus.

During the meeting, the board agreed to expedite the transcription and sending of the proceedings of the meeting to Bobbitt and University of Arkansas Chairman of the Board of Trustees John Goodson.

Board of visitors Chairman Timothy Barnes, an Arkansas Department of Education Public Schools Accountability Division employee, said that university officials have received the information.

"I can verify to you that the request we made for the information to be sent to Dr. Bobbitt and Chairman Goodson has been done. I know that has been done," said Barnes.

A meeting of all ASMSA faculty and employees was held Friday at the school, but a reporter was not allowed access.

Local on 05/18/2019

Print Headline: UA aware of ASMSA allegations, grievances

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