21 Former Faculty Send Letter to Board of Trustees

In what could only be considered an explosive development, twenty-one former University of Louisville faculty members who served under infamous Dean Robert Felner have penned a letter to the UofL Board of Trustees. The letter, which is in response to perceived inaction and mismanagement by President Jim Ramsey and Provost Shirley Willihnganz, addresses a number of issues that have not been appropriately addressed by the University.

If anyone had any doubt at all about the validity of claims made by commentators on this website, read the letter. Your eyes will be opened and you’ll quickly come to recognize the severity of complaints raised within.

For your convenience, we’re providing the text of the letter in its entirety below.

August 22, 2008

To: University of Louisville Board of Trustees

From: Twenty-one former UofL faculty members who served under Robert Felner

Re: “The Felner Affair” in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD)

We write this letter to the Board of Trustees of the University of Louisville in response to what is being referred to in newspaper, TV, and blogosphere reports in Kentucky and elsewhere as “The Felner Affair.” We are former UofL CEHD faculty members who served under Dean Robert Felner. Some of us left UofL in part because of Dean Felner’s abusive and unethical behavior.

We take issue with President Ramsey’s assertion in news reports about the “Felner Affair” that input from faculty to the higher administration was nothing more than “anonymous crap.” We would like to set the record straight by presenting the facts.

Setting aside alleged misconduct currently under federal investigation, Robert Felner’s actions included the following: He –-

  • brushed aside repeated queries by faculty about his excessive and questionable expenditures;
  • created a hostile workplace, which included influencing voting;
  • publicly humiliated people, screamed at them, spread falsehoods about them;
  • professionally undermined those who dared to oppose him;
  • made inappropriate personal advances;
  • made a mockery of accepted collegial governance policies;
  • violated principles governing the hiring of new faculty and the promotion of other faculty;
  • showered resources on those who supported him;
  • denied resources to those who stood up and questioned him, and threatened them with dire consequences;
  • hired an excessively large number of administrators, many of whom inflicted cruel and unfair sanctions on faculty not in Felner’s favor; and
  • cultivated inappropriate relationships with female employees, giving some questionably qualified persons extreme salaries.

Read the rest of the letter after the jump…

Read more21 Former Faculty Send Letter to Board of Trustees

Oh Snap Tuesday – Because We Had A Holiday

Haha, so, Kentucky Democrats are afraid of Barack Obama and don’t want him to come to the Bluegrass. David Boswell is a total loser. Leave it to the state party to support that nutbag. Heather Ryan came off sounding more intelligent than the rest of the bunch. [H-L]

John McCain attacked Barack Obama by comparing him to Britney Spears. So it should be noted that while he was busy with that mess, his crew was haphazardly throwing together a ticket with Sarah Palin to bring some Jamie Lynn action to the ticket. [Observation]

Speaking of Spears, get a load of Perez Hilton’s handling of the Palin story. Mean, gutter-level, sickening and terrible. We admit we laughed a little. And Dlisted is even worse. So awful. Hahahahaha. [Perez Hilton, Dlisted]

Mitch McConnell needs this convention like woah. So he’s going to take full advantage of it. [National Journal]

What was that about the RNC not being politicized so as not to appear insensitive to the hurricane evacuees? Yeah, so, Orrin Hatch yammered on about how great and wonderful Jim Bunning is. How he’ll run for senate again in 2010 and lose to any Democrat, no matter what. [Trey Pollard]

From the Department of Did You Know? Did you know that the surge in Iraq totally worked and that everything is peachy and perfect? The war is so over!  Mission accomplished! True story! We heard it from some Republicans who live in McMansions in the east end of Louisville. [EITB]

Everyone– including Trey Grayson– is spinning for Sarah Palin. Did you know she is the new Jesus of energy and lower gas prices? She is also the future of the Republican Party with her faux right-wing moralism and pregnant 17-year-old daughter. [Mark Hebert]

HAHAHA! Even the Wall Street Journal is bringing up the Britney Spears ad. Even we are beginning to feel embarrassed for John McCain. [WSJ]

A story of student reaction to the Robert Felner scandal in UofL’s student paper is less than impressive. We’d expect the paper to go hog wild with the juicy details. [Louisville Cardinal]

Oh, and John David Dyche? It’s not a “lie” that Mitch McConnell got rich from public service. That’s something we call a “truth” in the reality-based community, which you are apparently not a part of. But you’re loosely correct about what Bruce Lunsford should be doing at the moment. [C-J]

According to Marty Cothran, chief homo-hating bigot of Lexington, Sarah Palin’s underage daughter’s pregnancy has no relevance. Guess that’s why it’s a part of every single newscase on earth and is on the front page of every paper the world over.  Oh, and Marty, that “evidence” is provided in several stories I linked to. Read the site before providing your inane commentary that people only read because I link to it. [Mind-blowing Ignorance]

More Stuff For Your Saturday Morning

It’s like Anna Nicole and her elderly husband [Wonkette]

Sarah Palin Facts [PalinFacts.com]

GILF graduates to VPILF [VPILF]

Sarah Palin once rode a diney-sore [Barefoot & Progressive]

No, Republicans, Sarah Palin is not “gay-friendly” or whatever it is you’re calling her. [DailyKos]

Paul Begala has it right about John McCain and Sarah Palin [CNN]

Sorry, but, uh… Jennifer Moore and the KDP had jack shit to do with Heather Ryan winning the endorsement of the Progressive Patriot Fund. It’s a flat out fraud and lie to suggest that Jennifer or the KDP had anything to do with it. Heather won it on her own accord, thanks to her own promotion and her own dedication. [How Embarrassing]

Whattya know… Nancy Rodriguez does a story about the various emails exchanged between Robert Felner, Shirley Willihnganz and Jim Ramsey. Interesting. We hope she really filed open records requests for those emails and didn’t just yank them from this site without attribution. [C-J]

A Look at the Mainstream Behind the Scenes

Many have written in to ask us what goes on behind the scenes with the Courier-Journal and other news outlets in the open records request process. And even more want to know what exactly the former paper of record has done so far in the research process/what they plan to do in the future with the Robert Felner story.

So we thought it’d be interesting to take a look at a few of the ORRs filed by the C-J in the recent past. It sheds light on previous coverage and may give you a glimpse of what the paper plans to do in the future on the Felner story.

07/23/2008 – Chris Kenning requested a copy of the federal search warrant –

“I am seeking a copy of the original search warrant used by the feds to search the CEHD.”

07/29/2008 – Andrew Wolfson requests copies of the Felner emails –

“I was trying to see if you could send me copies of the most recent emails released in the Felner matter. (WHAS last night mentioned there were 15 of them, but only put eight on it’s Web site.)

Never mind that we published them minutes after the WHAS story aired.

Read the rest after the jump…

Read moreA Look at the Mainstream Behind the Scenes

Jim Ramsey Tries In Vain to Cover His Rear

Get a load of this:

“While we can’t talk about personnel actions, we did take steps to improve the situation,” Ramsey said in the letter dated last Friday. “Rightfully so, we have faculty who are hurt and disappointed by events of the recent years.”

Meawhile, I have already published evidence that Ramsey did nothing to try to improve the situation. The evidence suggests he did the exact opposite.

Felner’s “references were very good,” Ramsey said. When Felner was hired, “our mandate to him was to turn things around and do it quickly. He became a change agent — a role all of our new Deans have played.”

Recall that officials in Rhode Island said no one ever bothered to check Robert Felner’s references and history.

In 2006, faculty at the college took a no-confidence vote against Felner, but Ramsey downplayed it in his letter. He said only half of the college’s 100 faculty members were present for the vote “and a large number visited the Provost afterward to say that they supported the Dean.”

But as time went on, Ramsey said the administration “realized there was an issue” with Felner’s leadership.

HAHAHA. We can’t even muster a comment. But we’ll publish a copy of the letter a bit later.

Priceless, Jim.

Juicy tidbit: We hear the State House plans to haul University of Louisville officials to Frankfort for a very public hearing as soon as the session starts.

UPDATE: As promised, here’s a copy (PDF Link) of Ramsey’s CYA letter. Read it and let us know what you think.

C-J Editorial Board Takes UofL Leaders to Task

This is one of those rare occasions where we’re alomst solidly with the editorial board of the Courier-Journal. Rare, we know.

The paper, in what we’ll call baby steps, did its best to hold University of Louisville President Jim Ramsey and Provost Shirley Willihnganz– along with Board of Trustees Chairman J. Chester Porter– accountable for their abysmal failure during the Robert Felner fiasco.

Have a look:

What’s shocking is the failure of top university administrators to look seriously enough, and early enough, at evidence that Education Dean Robert Felner was leaving academic wreckage behind…


President James Ramsey and Provost Shirley Willihnganz should have admitted much, much sooner that Felner’s tenure was collapsing into an organizational and managerial debacle. And they should have reacted accordingly.

Instead, even in the backwash of a federal investigation into the way Mr. Felner handled a $694,000 federal grant, Dr. Ramsey was still dismissing some faculty complaints and grievances as “anonymous crap.” And, just this week, board chairman J. Chester Porter pronounced himself “satisfied” with the way the administration handled faculty criticism and charges. He did this without serious investigation of the letter’s specifics and before a proposed Faculty Senate review produced any findings. All of which calls into question the university’s good faith in dealing with allegations that people and careers were being abused.

Baby steps, people. Baby steps.