Welcome to Dr. Alexander


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The background of Laurence B. Alexander, who was unanimously approved Thursday by the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees as the next chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, is impressive.

Currently the associate dean of the graduate school and director of the Office of Minority Programs at the University of Florida in Gainesville, he was one of four finalists for the position to visit the campus in January.

Alexander has a vision of strengthening the ties between the university and the community, noting “the futures of both are inextricably interwoven and together great things can happen. … UAPB is providing a workforce for Pine Bluff. It provides human capital to the community. I’d like to see the principles of entrepreneurship taught to our students. If people can’t find a job then they can create their own.”

Alexander was nominated for the post by UA System President Donald R. Bobbitt following a search process that began with the May 25 retirement of former Chancellor Lawrence A. Davis Jr.

The University of Florida has a partnership with Florida A&M University, a historically black university, and we have heard great comments from a member of the journalism faculty there on his many talents.

Alexander is leaving a university with one of the top 10 journalism schools in the country, so UAPB’s journalism department should welcome his appointment.

A native of New Orleans, Alexander received his bachelor’s degree in drama and communications from the University of New Orleans, a master’s degree in journalism and communications from the University of Florida, juris doctor from Tulane University and Ph.D. in higher education from Florida State.

“Dr. Alexander is the complete package,” Bobbitt said after Thursday’s meeting.

UA trustee and Pine Bluff resident Dr. Stephen Broughton said he is impressed with Alexander’s credentials as well as his understanding of the mission of the university.

“I believe that what separated Dr. Alexander from the rest comes down to his presentation in terms of his depth and breadth of vision,” Broughton said. “He not only addressed the remediation and graduation issue at UAPB but also expressed his appreciation for the school’s mission to educate people who are not given any other options. He views the fact that UAPB continues to be an open institution as a credit and said that the university will continue to educate those students.”

Welcome aboard, sir. We look forward to your service to UAPB.

Drug bust

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The removal of 16 pounds of marijuana, cash and two semiautomatic rifles from the streets of Pine Bluff is good news any day and deserving of a high five to the police.

The marijuana, with an estimated street value of some $25,000, was seized Wednesday morning on the east side of Pine Bluff, and one man was arrested in what police said was the first of many busts to come.

Vice and Narcotics Lt. James Golden said officers began compiling lists of “heavy drug dealers” on Jan. 1 after interim Police Chief Jeff Hubanks announced his intention to go after major dealers as a way to reduce crime in the city.

Wednesday’s raid was just the beginning, police added.

“We’re going to drum the drug dealers either out to prison or out of town, and we hope they leave town but we want them to know, we’re coming,” Hubanks said.

Golden said investigators have determined that some of the drug dealers in Pine Bluff are having their drugs delivered by FedEx. The latter is a practice police have observed across the nation as drug dealers scurry to reduce their profiles.