Bevin deflects question on whether he asked Ramsey to quit; calls UofL board ‘dysfunctional’

Matt Bevin

Gov. Matt Bevin, asked if he sought James Ramsey’s resignation, said he’d spoken to many people, including the embattled University of Louisville president himself, and the “culmination of all the conversations I’ve had with everybody on all fronts is what I just announced to you,” the Lexington Herald Leader says.

Bevin said today those conversations also included leaders in the higher-education community,” and there is pretty much uniform agreement . . . (that) the board as it exists right now is not particularly functional. Its dysfunction has precluded it from doing what its responsibility is, and that is to be effective fiduciary leaders of the university,” according to The Courier-Journal.

Ramsey, 67, has been president since 2002. He offered his resignation, but it hasn’t been formally accepted, because a new board of trustees hasn’t been formed to replace the one Bevin dismissed today, according to multiple media accounts. The governor said Ramsey’s exit could come in the next two weeks. But state Sen. Morgan McGarvey, a Louisville Democrat, said Bevin’s firing the board is illegal, the Courier-Journal says.

James Ramsey

Bevin issued an executive order this morning that scolded the 20-member board for its “lack of transparency and professionalism” and described the relationship between the U of L administration and trustees as “operationally dysfunctional,” according to WDRB.

The governor appointed a temporary three-person board until a permanent one can be assembled: Junior Bridgeman, a businessman and former U of L basketball player; Bonita Black, a Louisville attorney, and Dr. Ron Wright, said WAVE.

Larry Benz

The board chairman is Larry Benz, a healthcare business owner. He’s been a trustee since July 2011.

Trustee Robert Hughes, the Murray physician who has supported Ramsey, said he learned about Bevin’s plans via social media — echoing statements by other trustees about being in the dark, the Courier-Journal reported).

According to Ramsey’s contract, if he resigns at the request of the board of trustees, he can keep a tenured professor position — for 75% of his most recent base pay as president, which is $350,000, according to WFPL.

Ramsey has been under fire for numerous scandals over the past several years, said WFPL. The NCAA is investigating the basketball program after a former escort alleged an ex-coach paid for strippers and sex for players and recruits. Last October, Ramsey apologized after he and his senior staff posed for a photograph at a university Halloween party wearing stereotypical Mexican garb, the radio station said.

One of the university’s most influential and wealthiest graduates is Humana co-founder David A. Jones Sr., who received a bachelor’s degree in business there in 1954.

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