Jim Ramsey remains behind President’s desk at UofL

Jim Ramsey continued to preside as President of the University of Louisville following the first meeting of the new Board of Trustees on Wednesday. The new members not sensing any need to make any immediate change.

Jim Ramsey still in charge.
Jim Ramsey still in charge at UofL. (All photos by Cindy Rice Shelton.)

That was disappointing to a couple of people — Andrew Wolfson of the Courier-Journal and Chris Otts of WDRB-TV — who have been beating the media drums for a couple of years in support of recalcitrant members of the old board dismissed by Gov. Matt Bevin.

Wolfson and Otts, attempting to make news instead of reporting it, were taken aback that Ramsey was still around following a closed session on personnel. They sought to turn the private session into a violation of the open meetings law, threatening to have a court seek video or notes from the session.

Junior Bridgeman, who was elected Chairman of the Board, wasn’t taking the bait. “You can vilify me tomorrow,” he said. “We discussed a number of things with Dr. Ramsey but we did not agree to anything.”

There apparently was no discussion of Ramsey’s future. Nor did there need to be since board members were already aware of his offer to resign from his position if the board wanted him to leave.

“We felt like we needed to analyze things a little bit more since everybody is new,” said Bridgeman. “He’s willing to do whatever the board wants him to do.”

Gov. Bevin was on hand for the first meeting, thanking the members for serving, describing the board as capable of running any corporation in the country.

“I have already received and accepted his resignation and I think that speaks for itself. And I think the timing of that as he has said, he’s willing to stand down within a day or whatever period of time the board determines,” Bevin said. “I defer to their judgement. They will collectively decide.”

Bridgeman noted that other personnel issues, as well as litigation matters, were discussed during the closed session. Whether the law was violated or not is of little consequence and any repercussions would be minimal.

Just a couple of wimpy reporters, disappointed, wanting to sound tough, not getting their way again. Jim Ramsey heads back to his office continuing to preside over the University of Louisville.

Andy Beshear favors discord at University of Louisville

UofLIf there were any doubts about former Governor Steve Beshear’s destructive tendencies toward the University of Louisville, they were erased by his son Andy Beshear, the state’s Attorney General.

The baby-faced AG announced Wednesday that he would be filing a lawsuit in an attempt to rescind the executive order issued by Gov. Matt Bevin dissolving the UofL Board of Trustees. The younger Beshear, like his father, obviously had no problem with the gridlock on the board.

Apparently the discord would be more preferable to the Beshears, bringing back the old board, with a handful of obstructionists, a group with no ties to UofL, and no interest in cooperating with the current administration, to inflict further harm on the good name of the university.

The Beshear lawsuit only serves to underscore why Gov. Bevin had to take the dramatic step of dismissing the old board. It’s a delaying tactic, intended to create further chaos at UofL.

Andy Beshear is out of order, and way out of line. A chip off the old block.

*    *   *

Meanwhile, good news. Jim Ramsey is apparently back in his office in the Grawemeyer Building for now, keeping on keeping on, issuing the following memo to the campus community:

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 9.00.42 PM

Junior Bridgeman right man at right time for UofL

Junior Bridgeman
Junior Bridgeman

What can Junior Bridgeman be expected to accomplish over the next couple of weeks as chairman of the transition team at the University of Louisville?

Just being the man is probably enough for now.

Bridgeman inspires confidence among alumni and long-time supporters of the University of Louisville that the future school is in competent hands. No question about his loyalty to the school or about any conceivable political conflicts.

Many of the problems on the former board stemmed from members who had no ties to UofL, seemingly appointed by a former Governor (Steve Beshear) to create obstacles for President Jim Ramsey.

When he dissolved the board, Gov. Bevin said he wanted the new board to be composed of people “who will look out for the best interests of the University.” He couldn’t have selected anyone who fits the mold better than Junior Bridgeman.

Bridgeman has been a generous supporter of the University since he graduated from UofL in 1975.  He majored in psychology and played basketball at UofL before going to the NBA and playing for the Milwaukee Bucks for 11 seasons.

Along the way he amassed a fortune by investing in fast food chains and his net worth is currently estimated between $250 million and $400 million. He has served on both the UofL board and the UofL Foundation and is familiar with where the school has been and what’s been accomplished.

Gov. Bevin said he hopes Bridgeman’s name will be on the list of nominees submitted by the Council on Post-Secondary Education in a week or so.

Bridgeman has always been a winner, the perfect choice to lead UofL out of the fog that had enveloped the University in recent months.

Sen. McConnell: Ramsey best UofL President ever

Mitch McConnell should know.
Mitch McConnell should know.

Senator Mitch McConnell has gone on record praising Jim Ramsey for dramatic improvements at the University of Louisville, indicating that he hopes the new board will consider keeping him.

 McConnell also said he concurred with the action taken by Gov. Matt Bevin to dismiss the current Board of Trustees to give the board a fresh start. He made the remarks in an interview with WDRB News.

 “U of L is dramatically better off for having had Jim Ramsey,” McConnell said. “If he does end up leaving, he’s already been the best president of UofL in history.”

Jim Ramsey basks in vote of confidence from UofL faculty

Jim Ramsey stays on course.
Jim Ramsey stays on course.

He’s not out of the woods yet, but there appears to be a clearer path ahead for Jim Ramsey.

Ramsey has received a nice boost from the Faculty Senate in a confidence vote on his ability to provide effective leadership at the University of Louisville. The Faculty Senate, an officially-recognized governance group for faculty members, voted 55% in favor of Ramsey as opposed to 40% against him. The remaining 5% abstained from voting.

The outcome indicates that Ramsey continues to enjoy strong support from the academic community, the people who interact with the UofL President on a daily basis. Finally given a chance to weigh in on the issue, a clear majority endorsed him.

“In politics, these numbers would be called a landslide,” wrote former UofL Board Chairman Bob Hughes on his Facebook page.

The outcome is the latest in a series of positive initiatives on behalf of Ramsey, including a full-page ad from supporters in the Courier-Journal and an online petition that includes the names of more than 450  people.

Some interesting names on that list, including Senator Mitch McConnell, Board Members Bob Benson, Ron Butt, Bruce Henderson and Bob Hughes, Vice President of Athletics Tom Jurich, and UofL Coaches Ken Lolla and Sandy Pearsall.

Governor Matt Bevin poses with Trustee Bob Hughes at a recent event. That's Trustee Bruce Henderson behind the Governor.
Governor Matt Bevin poses with Trustee Bob Hughes at a recent event. That’s UofL Trustee Bruce Henderson behind the Governor.

A scheduled no-confidence vote on April 20 by the Board of Trustees came and went without a vote. Governor Matt Bevin has yet to appoint two minority members to the board. The Governor, known for respecting Ramsey’s financial acumen, is taking his time to make the appointments.

Given the friction on the board, Gov. Bevin could best serve the University by reviewing some of ex-Gov. Steve Beshear’s appointments. Specifically he should question whether Craig Greenberg, Steve Campbell, Emily Bingham and Larry Hayes have the school’s best interests in mind. Their only objective appears to be getting rid of Ramsey.

Beshear is gone now.  Gov. Bevin may want to invite the aforementioned to submit their resignations. They are not leading and need to get out of the way.