LITTLE ROCK, Ar. — In Batesville there are new calls for the president of Lyon College to resign after he made some questionable statements.
Dr. Joseph King was quoted in an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education titled, “Could Political Rhetoric Turn to Campus Violence.”
The article quotes King calling Lyon College a bubble, “ surrounded by a sea of angry, disenfranchised populations and a large white-supremacist population.“
He goes on to say there are, “active Klan chapters in the area.”
“Resign immediately. You have damaged this community,” said Independence County Judge Robert Griffin. “You have done it with malice and for no reason.”
Working 4 You reached out to King and the Lyon College Board of Trustees. A spokeswoman for the college responded for all and declined comment.
“I have lived in Independence County my entire life. I cannot name you a single person affiliated with any white supremacist groups or overtly racist in my experience,” Griffin added.
Griffin also oversees the emergency management office. When asked if King has ever approached him about issues of racism or violence, Griffin responded, “not a time, not a single time.”
Griffin points to other parts of the article, like a section where King claims he talked with students after Donald Trump won the presidency and, “the next morning, he found his front door spray-painted with an expletive directed to ‘Mr.Prez.’”
According to Batesville Police Chief Allen Cockrill, his department was never called.
“That’s a crime, its criminal mischief it was never reported and there’s no documentation to support the fact that that ever happened,” Cockrill said.
Cockrill did some of his own digging. In the article, King says he worked at a college in West Virginia where his wife’s car was “firebombed” two separate times after he read scripture at a gay wedding.
“If it happened I would like to see the documentation because their law enforcement does not have any documentation on it,” Cockrill said.
Cockrill can fact-check one statement. King reportedly said last fall a Trump rally, “brought thousands of reporters” and “campus basically went into lockdown.”
The article then quotes King saying, “think Capitol mob minus the ‘QAnon Shaman.”
“The rally never occurred,” Cockrill said. “The college was never placed on lockdown to our knowledge and in the fall of 2020 they were under COVID, there weren’t students there.”
King since retracted the statement on the rally when we posted a message on Lyon’s website and Facebook page writing, “the article misquoted me.”
In the statement, King also backpedaled his comments on white supremacists saying, “while Lyon and the
Batesville community might be welcoming and inclusive, we cannot pretend to expect the same in all areas of the state.”