More On Ramsey’s Comments About Robert Felner

Sure, you thought what Nancy Rodriguez published in the Courier-Journal yesterday about UofL President Jim Ramsey’s comments was a big deal. But what will you think when you discover the C-J didn’t report everything Ramsey said about former education Dean Robert Felner?

Let’s find out. Mark Hebert caught up with Ramsey at the same press conference Rodriguez did and had a few questions for the President.

Check out these clips from last evening’s newscast:

Nice body language, eh?

Totally dismisses 33 grievances, calling them “anonymous crap.” (Not all were anonymous) Said it’s “cheap” if people don’t have the courage to put their name on a complaint, never mind the fears of faculty, staff and students over possible reprisal. He said having 33 grievances filed against Felner meant he was “bringing about change that needed to be made.” We can only assume “sexual harassment” and “intimidation” mean the same thing as “change.”

Oh– and he said he hadn’t seen the internal Felner investigation.

Yeah, wow. Our favorite part is when Ramsey suggests that “getting a little weak” and “violating the law now and then” is a-okay.

We’ll let you know when we find out how much UofL is paying for public relations and crisis management. If it’s anything more than $0.00, it’s a total waste of taxpayer money.

And on a related note, Rodriguez has a new story in today’s C-J where she again leads readers to believe the Felner investigation is only about a $694,000 grant. Which is not remotely true. We have spoken with individuals interviewed by federal investigators at the University of Louisville, University of Rhode Island, University of Wisconsin, University of Illinois and other schools and within minutes of speaking with them were aware that the investigation is massive. The $694K grant is, like we said, the tip of an iceberg.

Nancy finally brings up the number of grievances and complaints filed against Felner (there are 33, not 31) and focuses on an email Felner sent to grants management officials at the University of Louisville. In the message, Felner stated that, “We really need to show good faith for the feds.” Boy, did he ever.

118 thoughts on “More On Ramsey’s Comments About Robert Felner

  1. A key question to ask is what did the kids of Louisville get out of Felner’s tenure at U of L.

  2. Well, Blowin’,

    Let’s see….I’m guessing they didn’t get the numbers to his off shore or Cayman Island accounts. I’m guessing they didn’t get fat stipends for simply knowing Little Bobby Felner. Probably not any out of state travel expenses, either. Likely no big ass house, or sleek car. And, I would think they didn’t get any blondes along the way.

    So…seems the kids of Louisville probably got the same thing kids got everywhere he was.


  3. And if the kids of Louisville didn’t get so much, why were Daeschner and the boys so willing to protect him? There are several former JCPS administrators that were hired by Felner. Maybe they can tell us?

  4. Felner….miscreant though he is…was the golden goose. I said it before, but it bears repeating…I think a lot of heads can turn pretty far in the other direction, and a lot of eyes suddenly become blind….just to protect his eggs.

  5. Speaking of blondes…..

    Note to self: If convicted, send Bobby’s cellmate, Bubba, a blonde wig. Toss in some candles and a Lionel Ritchie CD.

  6. I, like Sam, am new to this whole blogging thing but have been feverishly reading once I stumbled upon this news story thanks to Page One. Incredibly and somewhat sadly there doesn’t seem to be much mention of any of the details in the traditional mainstream media. With each new comment I have grown more upset with the though that people with the education of which they so repetitively boast have very little common sense or courtesy.

    I will first say that I do not work for U of L, have never been a student there and am not in the education field. I do know some very intelligent, kind folks that work there and have graduated from the department. My only experience with the university is partaking in a few fraternity parties in my younger years.

    Having disclosed all that, my contribution to the conversation is simply to convey some good advice my parents preached to me many years ago. I do believe that those in power could, perhaps, benefit if in the future they would live by a few good rules.

    1. No matter your level of education, you can learn something from every person you meet. This is proven to me day in and day out.
    2. Remember, there will always be someone in the room that is more intelligent, more beautiful, more (fill in the blank with your favorite adjective) than you and those who are not. Treat everyone well, for often it is hard to discern which are above or below you in wisdom, beauty or______ (again, fill in your favorite adjective).

    …and finally…(This is advice they gave me during my middle and high school years.)

    3. Be kind to everyone! In twenty years, no one will remember or care who wore the best Guess/Jordache jeans, carried the most expensive purse, drove the nicest car,
    had the most jelly bracelets, largest loop earrings, or coolest Madonna/Cyndi Lauper/Duran Duran hair (ops, I’m dating myself now) or in this case, brought in the most grant money. What they will remember is how well you treated them.

    In this blog I can see that my parents were right… again. In most of the posted comments, especially those acquainted with RF in the past, there is no mention of his or his buddies’ financial accomplishments but everyone does remember and writes about the harsh treatment given to them undeservingly.

    A few last thoughts about Sam’s posting of all his worthy achievements. Just because you publish articles, bring in money to the university, have power and a large paycheck does not give you or anyone else the right to be disrespectful to others. All the big money does not wash away the humiliation and cruelty inflicted on the faculty. I do commend you for all your hard work and many hours put in through the years. I suspect your colleagues have done the same. While the compliment is sincere, I would remind you that you picked this profession understanding that the hours and hard work comes with the territory.

    Thank you for allowing me to participate in the discussion. I do realize my comments are somewhat simple ideas but I hope considered pertinent to the conversation. The staff of the university will remain in my thoughts and I wish you all well.

  7. Thank you KyGirl for your kind post. I am always impressed with people who understand the pain of those who have suffered in the way we have under RF. Not everyone can do that. Maybe one has had to be a victim in order to understand other victims.

    A long ago post by factsman keeps spinning in my head. It was in reference to Ramsey’s stupid response that was like blaming rape victims or abused spouses forwhat they got. That has helped me understand why I was so angry about Ramsey’s response.

    Still, I blame the provost for being the true coward. Why didn’t she act? She knew each grievance in depth, knew the people, knew our pain, knew all of it! And still did nothing. I have heard many people come out and say she is incapable of making a decision. I used to think if she had just stepped up right away and apologized for not having taken steps to remove him, she could be forgiven. But I no longer think that now. She is the one who needs to resign.

    And include me on the FAN OF ED list. You really have helped the healing by being insightful and hilarious.

  8. I still haven’t seen evidence that the Provost had any control over the situation. No one– including the folks filing grievances– has been able to prove to me that Shirley didn’t have her hands tied.

    I’m not suggesting she’s not responsible for anything, just saying there’s no evidence to suggest that she acted (or didn’t act) on her own accord.

    After watching Jim Ramsey’s performance the past couple weeks, one has to wonder if he didn’t call ALL the shots.

    We’ve all seen Shirley act on behalf of students and faculty– often in the public eye– so it does not, in my opinion, seem like a character trait of hers to blow off 33 grievances solely because she wanted to. If that happened, I’m apt to assume it was because she was forced to.

  9. P.S. The Provost’s responses to some of those grievances and complaints were super-vague.

    And that leads me to believe it wasn’t her response, but the response of others who control her job.

    (Come on– when has she EVER been vague? Check everything she’s ever said.)

  10. I ask you, when has she every made a significant, timely decison?

    When has she shown courage to speak what needed to be said in the face of adversity? Lots of many less powerful faculty spoke truth in difficult times, why didn’t seh?

  11. Hold your horses. I’m not taking her side. I’m just asking everyone to examine the facts.

    We have no evidence to suggest that the Provost did not act behind closed doors. None. Nor do we have evidence that she wasn’t controlled by Jim Ramsey– her boss.

    I mean, you’ll note that Shirley has never said Robert Felner did a great job. That should count for something.

    When has she shown courage to speak to what need to be said in the face of adversity? When standing up to bigots like David Edmunds. When standing up to racists who assaulted students. (Instances you can search/read about on this very website).

    It’s important that we all remember that the Provost is not the top dog at the University of Louisville. The top dog is President James Ramsey. And Ramsey has been praising Robert Felner left and right. He’s belittled those who have filed grievances and he’s said on-camera that it’s okay to break the law. This is the man who controls the Provost. We cannot forget that while we’re throwing around blame.

  12. We’re all in this together, wc. Jake’s blog is the new group therapy. Thanks for giving us a place, Jake. I’m guessing you didn’t know that reporting on an investigation would morph into this. None of us did….how could we? It’s like it’s taken on a life of its own….if that makes any sense.

    For me…and probably many of you, too…it started off as a “ding dong the witch is dead” sort of thing. And even though it still is for me, once it got going it became exponentially more. The depth of the pain and anger became clear, the commonality of our experiences was shocking, and the result was….is….a group of people who, probably for the first time, are able to share the horror with others that know the same horror. I don’t know about you…but that’s been pretty huge for me. Thank you for that.

    I don’t know any of you, and you don’t know me. As I’ve said, I’m far away. Yet, when I open pageone and read the latest posts I feel sorta like I’m visiting old friends. Does that sound crazy? My “real” friends and family are ecstatic about the situation, but they haven’t faced the ugly monster. So, really, there’s a whole level of it they don’t…can’t….understand. It’s what I tried to say to Sam (when he was Looking Forward). Of course he didn’t get it and remains my project for 08.

    The fact that Ramsey is a complete idiot doesn’t help the situation at U of L. At all. Jim…I do hope you’re reading this. My God, Man, how did you ever rise to ANY position…let alone president. What was it….old money?….political connections? …some pictures you blackmailed someone with? Certainly it had not a whit to do with intelligence. People close to you must be mortified. I’m sure your family probably can’t show their faces anywhere. Have you thought at all about them???? Simply put….you are a disgrace. To condone anything Felner did….to negate the validity of anonymous grievences…so say it’s ok to break the law….is just plain idiocy. In retrospect, I apologize to Barny Fyfe for comparing the two of you. He may have been a bit of a buffoon, but his heart was always pure, and his intentions always good. If you have kids, know in your heart that regardless of what they say to you, you have forever….forever….changed who you are in their eyes. They’ll just never be able to look at you the same way. Honestly, the things you said on camera should make everyone seriously question your sanity. My money is on you being history soon after Felner’s history.

    Anyway, Folks, I know the site is working for me. I hope it’s working for you, too.

  13. Check the Redbook: The Provost is the top academic officer at the University. She is the final authority as to what becomes of faculty grievances.

    Have you ever been in a meeting with both the Provost and the President? If so, you’ll know that she has a lot of say in the decisions.

    If Shirley is not responsible for much of this, then let her take a stand and publicly state what she thinks is right and wrong here at U of L. Why not? The rest of us do and we are willing to pay with our appointments. If she cannot do that, then she needs to be replaced because either she is part of the problem or she lacks the integrity to stand up when standing up is needed. Yes, even if that means Ramsey fires her.

    The Provost should lead with integrity and insist on the same in the Deans. If she mandates that improper behaviors will be cause for dismissal, and actually backed it up, this thing with Felner would have terminated a long time ago. Of course, we might be short a few deans, but if that is what it takes to get integrity into the administration, so be it. If Ramsey can’t handle that approach, she could always say that she doesn’t want the job anymore.

    As to grievances not bringing any substantial demerits to Felner, I challenge the Provost to release the “slience” clause in all of the settled grievances. Make them public (with consent of the grievants), then see if the rest of us agree with Ramsey’s statement.

    And where the heck is the Board of Trustees?

  14. The problems are very serious and don’t begin and end with Felner. Unfortunately at U of L, they are systemic. My experience was an increasingly hostile work environment that led to a PTSD diagnosis after years of dedicated work that drew accolades from other institutions. I loved my job. But my boss withheld information and wouldn’t talk to me.
    There’s no one to help you and no one will ever believe you. It was the strangest and most damaging time I’ve ever lived through. It’s almost as if you reach the point where people break you down to where they say you are not who you say you are.
    My previous job experience was called into question. Where do they get this stuff?! I wasn’t able to file an affirmative action suit because I’d never been written up; then I got a completely bogus (very bad) review and was out of there!

  15. The provost promised that she would do something after there was a no confidence vote. The only thing CEHD ever got was an email that she supported Felner and his leadership team. So evidently has no feelings for faculty and staff at CEHD.

  16. Jake and others;

    Believe it or not, I am reading this for the first time since I posted mine above a while back and never looked back.
    First I want to say, Jake you are wrong, Shirley knew, I have evidence. Sure she was under pressure by Jim R and the Board but she is very skilled. She is also the top officer as noted by Flag. She could have and should have resigned.
    Some of us did.
    Too many of us were hurt, trauma is the correct word and we suffer it, particularly after Ramsey’s comment and half-hearted apology. In fact, I think we could deal with a sick mean dean being a catastrophe/bully but when we found out that what we had endured was by design, that is when it really hit me! The arrogance and lack of remorse has and is still affecting me more than taking on Bobby and his crew.
    In fact, Truth and Reconciliation had it right, but they did not allow the process. Instead, they covered it up and had Just Solutions come in and they never heard us or asked us about the problems. No exit interviews..

    Once Ramsey came out with this weak attempt to apologize without meaning it, it started to eat away at what had begun to heal.
    It proves wrongdoing but hardly in a sincere way.
    To think he and Shirley would now get away with faking concern, and not be held accountable for what they did, fooling the board and public it was ok, that is where one gets literally sick. The injustice of it all, the lost time, productivity or…possibly promotions that could have ocurred, the less qualified getting them, the stresses of having to adapt anew, on family …all that is hard to forgive and forget and it affects many of us still.
    This is why the hubris of Ramsey and hypocrisy of Shirley and Sam need resolution, it has not gone far enough. They are not evil but justice has to be served so healing can begin finally.
    The 1st step is resign or be fired from undeserved positions. The University owes a real apology and should compensate those most affected. Lifes were ruined or hurt more than those who are still under the rewards program care to admit. As long as the Truth is not dealt with, resolution can’t begin and as long as these university officials remain so rewarded, the institution is guilty of the trauma perpetrated and in the case of those unjustly treated, this outrage continues.
    What better evidence of the outrage caused and the trauma exacerbated by Ramsey than this long blog of 117 posts! It speaks volumes. I think you should send it to the Governor so new appointments can be expedited.
    UofL deserves better, we still love it, it can dare and be allowed to be great with a new change in leadership.
    As Ky Girl notes, her parents are right, this is not about money and power but doing the right thing and dealing with injustice and those who allowed people to be hurt and traumatized.
    Surely those in power are comfortable and can’t relate or understand us; they wish for us to go away. But why don’t we? As some of those writing above notice from afar, something happened here and it has not been resolved. It has very little to do with Felner going to prison now and a lot with wrongdoers going unpunished.

  17. You’re posting on a story from July 2008. Before saying I’m wrong, you need to read about, oh, 200 other Felner-specific stories I’ve written since this one. Make sure you understand the whole story and see how everything played out.

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