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Letter to the Editor: Response to “University not a business” editorial

By on March 31, 2014

Dear editor,

Your March 25th editorial regarding the negotiated confidentiality agreements with three long time, dedicated University of Louisville employees lacked some logic and key facts. The “story of closed doors and dark secrets” portrayed in your editorial and the Courier-Journal story might make a good piece of fiction, but was not a good true to life story. So here are some facts:

  • Agreements similar to the ones reached with these three employees are routine in the business world and at many universities. Yes, UofL should be run like a business.
  • All three were in sensitive positions that required discretion and confidentiality on matters such as university negotiations on land purchases, contracts, investments and personnel. The university and the employees agreed to extend that confidentiality beyond their retirement date for, I believe, obvious reasons.
  • Two vice-presidents’ jobs are being merged into one and the president’s administrative assistant has not been replaced, resulting in savings to the university – part of the $7.5 million UofL expects to save from the voluntary separation incentive program (VSIP).
  • Lawyers drafted the agreements and told UofL administrators there had to be some “consideration” to the retiring employees in return for signing confidentiality agreements.
  • The University of Louisville Foundation (private funds) covered the costs of all voluntary separation agreements with UofL staff including the three named employees.

This was a prudent business decision by UofL administrators as well as a logical decision by three employees who wanted to retire, not some underhanded “payoff” portrayed by your editorial.

Mark Hebert

Director, Media Relations

University of Louisville

 

Photo by Olivia Krauth/The Louisville Cardinal

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