By Nick Amon–
From an ongoing NCAA prostitution investigation, to an FBI-led federal grant misusage investigation, to the insensitive costume choice for Halloween, it’s safe to say President James Ramsey had a hell of a 2015. Last semester, U of L was a media outlet’s wet dream. For our university’s sake, hopefully the new year will provide a fresh start.
Unfortunately, throughout this breeding ground of controversy we call our campus, it seems as one scandal begins to fade, another one abruptly takes its rightful place. In return, one question ultimately remains: who should be held accountable for our worsening reputation?
Without completely throwing him under the bus or making a sombrero joke, it’s important we see Ramsey for what he is. Let’s look at the numbers. Excluding deferred compensation, Ramsey makes a salary of $647,723 from U of L and its foundation. This isn’t mentioning that Ramsey is also on track to collect $2 million in retention bonuses if he stays with the university through 2020.
It should also be noted that Ramsey is paid more than double the average amount of any other ACC president or chancellor, even though each of their respected universities blow us out of the water academically. Many of us are aware of the academic gap between U of L and the rest of the ACC, so let’s look at an in-state comparison. What about Ramsey’s counterpart at the University of Kentucky, Eli Capilouto? Capilouto receives a salary of $535,500—more than $100,000 less than Ramsey.
We get it, Ramsey gets paid more than many of us will even dream of in our lifetimes. It’s understandable to see these numbers and be a tad overwhelmed, but many would argue Ramsey deserves the money due to his credible amount of experience. With a BA from WKU, masters and doctoral degrees from UK and an impressive resume, Ramsey has a long list of accolades. Though all of these accolades provide excellent ammunition in terms of rallying a defense for Ramsey, it still doesn’t distract from the fact our university has crept its way into national headlines for more negative reasons than positive.
It becomes clear why this past semester 78 U of L faculty members signed a letter to Ramsey stressing their concern with U of L’s recent onslaught of negative attention. It looks like Ramsey’s lack of accountability for the university’s recent embarrassments doesn’t reflect the staggering six figures he rakes in annually, and the faculty are beginning to take due notice.
So what does all this mean? Does it mean we have an appointed official running our university’s reputation into the ground, all the while stuffing his pockets with more and more money each passing year? Frankly, yes. It may not be as consequential as the embezzlement that landed former Education Dean Robert Felner in prison, but it should still be thoroughly discussed.
Though the letter signed by faculty this past November was a great start in addressing Ramsey’s overdue responsibilities, it only addressed and called for accountability regarding the Katina Powell scandal and the sombrero incident. What the faculty letter did not address due to the timeliness of the matter, was the ongoing FBI investigation regarding three U of L officials and their alleged misuse of federal grant money for non-university purposes – an investigation that could draw in even more negative connotations for U of L.
Ramsey isn’t naive. He understands that he’s the boss hog around these parts. And all jokes aside, it remains his responsibility to answer for each of the horrific scandals, no matter how detached they may be from his office.
When all the smoke clears, it’s obvious accountability has to come from somewhere. Not only for the sake of the faculty, but for the sake of the students. Our diplomas should represent our accomplishments here at our time at U of L, not for the mishandling of management and scandals we as students literally have no control over.
More or less, we need to ask ourselves this: has it gotten to the point where we see our university’s president more in the headlines than the actual sidewalks of campus? If so, this isn’t a reality we here at The Cardinal are ready to quietly abide by and accept. What about you?
Editor’s note: The above editorial reflects the majority opinion of the Cardinal’s editorial staff.