UofL President Jim Ramsey: Bullshit Artist

University of Louisville President Jim Ramsey, in his ongoing attempt to make people think he’s more of an ass than he really is, spoke at UofL yesterday during his annual State of the University address.

Check it:

University of Louisville President James Ramsey in a speech yesterday acknowledged the troubles of the past year, including a federal investigation and strained relations with Kentucky’s higher-education officials.

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U of L is a university “facing challenges, but an institution that won’t back down from those challenges,” he said.

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Despite previous faculty criticism that early complaints about Felner’s management problems were ignored, Ramsey said the university “met this problem head on,” by calling for an audit of the college’s financial records, an independent review of grants policies, and a study of faculty-grievance procedures.

Facing challenges? Is that what’s going on at the University of Louisville? CHALLENGES? Not backing down from CHALLENGES?

Haha. Oh God. Someone save us.

I can say with absolute certainty and authority– as someone who has been deeply entrenched in the Robert Felner story and digging at UofL for several months– that the only thing Jim Ramsey has hit head on is his massive salary and growing his personal wealth.

Jim Ramsey can “study” for the next year and not solve the problems facing the University. What he needs to do is admit he fucked up– horribly. Make that very clear to everyone. And offer something more than lip service to the community at large. Otherwise I hear his job is in question with the State House and Senate.

Wednesday Dept. of Short Stuff Before Meetings

Is the Courier-Journal nothing but a bullshiz rag these days? I mean, seriously? The paper steals WHAS11’s Adam Walser’s story about Robert Felner and the Ph.D. diploma mill at the University of Louisville and all the paper does is mention “a reporter” in the story? Total bullshiz. Andy Wolfson also mentioned the NCLB grant again— just a day after his own editorial board said the Felner investigation was about more than the grant. It’s a sad day when a once-great journalist merely recycles a story from television without giving credit where credit is due. The paper really is falling apart. [C-J]

Computer software didn’t see alleged bid fraud at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet so it must be fine, right? Hahaha. Those silly computers. Robots that run our lives. If you can’t trust those silly computers, who can you trust? [H-L]

Is WHAS11’s Joe Arnold obsessed with Sarah Palin? It’s all he can talk about these days. Sarah Sarah Sarah! But we’ll give him props for his ‘lipstick on a pig’ question. Haha. Nice. [Mark Hebert]

I declined/am unable to attend the Metro Democratic Club’s “new media” forum for bloggers this evening. So what does the club do? Invites Ben Carter, the one “blogger” who wouldn’t call Kentucky Democrats on their bullshit if it bit him on the butt. Meaning he’ll be totally honest this evening. Heh. Somebody ask him when he’s gonna pay Joe Sonka for swiping his half of the business. [BlueGrassRoots]

Anne Northup has hired another person to manage her failing U.S. Congressional campaign. Nearly a month after getting rid of her previous manager. What’s even more awkward is that Northup hasn’t had a campaign manager for a month and she’s still gained a little ground on John Yarmuth. Time to bite back, John & Crew. [Trey Pollard]

There’s still no discussion about Mitch McConnell’s staff showing their chickenhawk feathers. Too boring for the mainstream or whatever, we guess. [Barefoot & Progressive]

Some Stuff On Your Tuesday Afternoon

We’ll be back in a bit with fancy stories and such. But this Felner thing is driving us crazy. Too many records to read and all that. Plus we have meetings and grown-up stuff to do, ugh. Which will be awesome with our impressive ability not to lose focus… while reading Cheezburger during a meeting.

In the meantime, enjoy some stuff:

The Courier-Journal editorial board not only admits the Felner investigation is deeper than the No Child Left Behind grant but the board suggests the University of Louisville should do MORE to resolve this sticky Robert Felner/Big Hot Mess scenario! Hell has frozen over, ladies. [C-J]

Also, Grampa John McCain magically grew hair for a Republican mail piece! YAY! [Wonkette]

Stephen George is a beardy media monster who will stand atop newspaper vending machines. He also eats babies and will scare young children! He is mean and awful and you should go read all about how awesome of a Louisvillian he is. Also, he wore a tie. [The ‘Ville Voice]

Senator Jim Bunning lost his shiz over the Fannie Mae-Freddie Mac government bail-out. Hell must have frozen over because we totally agree with Bunning. Jesus. This is bad news. Wow. [PolWatchers]

Here’s John Yarmuth’s latest ad, Listening, in which he continues to totally ignore Anne Northup:




Explosive New Robert Felner Scandal Brewing

WHAS11’s Adam Walser has uncovered a story that many commenters on this site have been stewing about over the past several days.

What’s the skinny? Well… turns out someone tightly connected to Robert Felner received a doctoral degree from the University of Louisville without really stepping foot on campus, while holding down a job as a school superintendent in California… in just four months. Yeah, it’s that scandalous.

John Deasy is the guy in question. One of the individuals he thanks for his rapid rise to power is none other than Robert Felner, who was the chair of his doctoral dissertation committee in 2004. But it gets better.

  • He lists the University of New York as a school he attended– but that university doesn’t exist.
  • UofL requires 60 hours of credits toward doctoral research. He had a whopping 9.
  • The title page of Deasy’s dissertation lists the date of May 2003– seven months before enrolling at UofL.
  • During the time he was enrolled at UofL he never missed a bi-monthly school board meeting– in California.
  • Deasy was at the University of Rhode Island for five years as a student but for some reason doesn’t list those classes on his resume. Not surprisingly, the Dean at the College of Education there was none other than Robert Felner.
  • And Deasy’s school district hired Felner’s National Center on Public Education for a study that cost about $120,000 in 2003.

This Felner story just gets crazier and crazier.

We’ll update this story with a link to Walser’s as soon as it hits the WHAS11 website.

CLICK HERE to watch Walser’s story.

Domino Effect of the Felner Investigation

The federal investigation of Robert Felner has finally prompted the University of Rhode Island to review the the finances of the National Center on Public Education and Social Policy. A report is set to be released detailing the findings of the review later this week.

Officials at the University of Rhode Island say they are inspecting the finances of a research center on the Kingston campus founded by a former academic administrator now under federal investigation in Kentucky for fraud.

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“We are reviewing all grants, memoranda, paperwork — anything that had to do with Mr. Felner while he was here, and after,” Weygand said. “We just want to make sure that all management and business aspects were done properly.”

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Weygand said that the URI center, which conducts research and develops school surveys, has about seven employees, down from a high a few years ago of 14. He said that no one had been removed since the university began its investigation.

Weygand said it was not unusual for a center financed through grants to experience cash-flow problems, as grants are often delayed.

“However, how you handle that is what’s important,” Weygand said. “We were very concerned about those [media] reports, so we are reviewing that as part of our investigation.”

Prediction: Every school that has employed Felner will soon launch reviews of everything he touched.

Apologizing For Felner: Ramsey & Willihnganz Speak

Nancy Rodriguez, in a story that yet again perpetuates the myth that the Robert Felner investigation is only about a No Child Left Behind grant, says that University of Louisville President Jim Ramsey apologized for Felner.

Here’s what Ramsey said during a faculty senate meeting on September 3:

“I do understand — fully understand — didn’t appreciate it soon enough, but I fully understand that there are a lot of individuals who have been hurt,” Ramsey said during the Wednesday meeting.
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“There are a lot of individuals who have been deeply scarred, and a lot of individuals who are very disappointed in their university. I am deeply regretful of that, and I alone have to take responsibility for that, and I do. … I should not have ever let that happen, and it did happen,” Ramsey said.

Note that he didn’t apologize for his own actions and wreckless behavior before the press.

Here’s what Provost Shirley Willihnganz said:

“Mostly what I think I want to say is people have been hurt and something very bad happened, and as provost I feel like I am ultimately responsible for that. So to all of you: I’m sorry,” Willihnganz said during the meeting.
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In an interview, Willihnganz categorized the meeting as “hard, but necessary.”

“I think we had an honest conversation,” she said.
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“Something went wrong with the remediation/grievance process,” she said. “Some of the things that people have said are almost certainly grievable offenses. …

“The fear that people had that they would be retaliated against, that the system wouldn’t treat them fairly, that they couldn’t trust the process, that’s wrong.”
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Willihnganz said she was limited in what she could discuss regarding the investigation or personnel matters, and she said at one point that she was trying to “figure out how to not do more harm.”

It’s respectable that these two individuals would put themselves before the faculty senate and loosely apologize. But it’s terrible that they have not apologized for their own actions, their own behavior and their own roles as parts of the problem.

These apologies, while sincere, are not complete.

Written, detailed apologies need to be made public immediately. Every issue raised by commenters on this website needs to be addressed. And every single thing Jim Ramsey and Shirley Willihnganz have said or done– that we have documented– needs to be cleared up.

An outside audit needs to be done at the University from top to bottom. Faculty, staff and students need solid reassurance that their concerns will always be taken seriously and that they will not be retaliated against for speaking up. Everyone who suffered at the hands of Robert Felner and those allied with him while at the University of Louisville needs a deep and personal apology to be publicly made.

Those would be great steps to take.

(NOTE: We’ll have audio of the meeting next week.)

Update: The Berman-Stiglitz Telephone Calls

Funny how that works. You don’t hear back from someone and then you publish a fancy story. Bam. You immediately get their attention and they’re eager to speak with you.

We finally heard from Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Sheldon Berman. Here’s his story and explanation for the plethora of telephone calls with Natalie Stiglitz.

He says he’s been close friends with Stiglitz for about six years and says they go running together at night, which could potentially explain the late-night telephone calls. He says they’re both avid runners.

“I didn’t talk to Natalie about Felner. I can ‘t say a lot about Felner, I met him 6 or 7 times about U of L collaboration issues,” said Berman. Recall that Felner referred to Berman as a friend and as “Shelly” in emails to University of Louisville President Jim Ramsey and Provost Shirley Willihnganz.

Here’s the rest of Berman’s take on his friendship with Stiglitz, “I have tremendous respect for Natalie and her incredible integrity. She’s a national leader in the field, and I would hate to see her reputation destroyed with this. She’s a valuable individual at U of L.”

Dr. Berman added that during the month of June there was a training program going on for 9th grade teachers that Stiglitz coordinated, and that was a reason for more calls at that time.

Many thanks to Berman for following up.