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This is the tenth post in an ongoing series as we file Missouri Sunshine Law (RSMo 610) requests and investigate the non-renewal of the contract of University of Central Missouri President Aaron Podolefsky. Links to previous coverage are below the fold. BG & MB

We’ve been curious about the overt hostility toward University of Central Missouri President Aaron Podolefsky expressed by a personality on KOKO radio:

[from a September 18, 2009 broadcast]

Greg Hassler: …Before we talk about that though I want to briefly mention a, uh, article that was in the, uh, Daily Star-Journal yesterday about, uh, the faculty support of Aaron Podolefsky, the President at the University of Central Missouri, uh. Nice article, it really was, but it was kind of an opinion piece ,ah, posing as a news story. And that’s okay, sometimes, you know, a paper will lean a little left, push their agenda. That’s what you get with the Daily Star-Journal, and that’s fine.  That’s nothing wrong with that. That’s okay, if you choose to…[crosstalk]

Marion Woods: Newspapers do that, don’t they?

Greg Hassler: That’s what they do. That’s fine, but, here at KOKO morning Hassler and Woody…[crosstalk]

Marion Woods: We have, we have ours, too, though.

Greg Hassler: We like to, uh, present both sides of the story and let you make your decision. Fair and balanced.


That’s what we do, isn’t it?

Marion Woods: You stole that from somebody, didn’t you.

Greg Hassler: I, I did. [laughter] I did. Anyway, here’s the deal. We’re not gonna spend a whole lot of time on this. Just want to let everybody know that, you know, that it was said a hundred and twenty-six signatures, over half of the tenured faculty. That’s all it said in the article. That’s just great. But that’s, there, there’s a lot more to it than that. Out of four hundred and twenty-one faculty only two hundred and fifty maybe are tenured, so they’re only talking about a very small percentage of the faculty. So, it sounds like, wow, over half the faculty. It’s not the case. Four hundred twenty-one faculty  So, one twenty-six out of four twenty-one and then you gotta figure in professional staff that work there and support staff. Professional staff, of course, they’re the leaders of their departments. The support staff, they make the University strong. You gotta count those guys in there. They’re employees, too, right?

Marion Woods: Yeah.

Greg Hassler: So now you’re talkin’ one thousand plus employees. So if yah, if yah look at the numbers, you know, if you’re just talking faculty alone twenty-nine percent faculty approval, maybe. Seventy-one percent disapproval or didn’t vote. And if yah figure in everybody you’re only talking about an eight percent approval rate versus ninety-two percent disapproving or not voting. And you know it, would you feel intimidated if somebody came up to you and asked you to sign a petition in support of your boss at the work place? That would…[crosstalk]

Marion Woods: Just a little.

Greg Hassler: Yeah. That would, I don’t under, that’s, that’s crazy. It really is and that makes for really, uh, a good work environment, I’m sure. But anyway, the bottom line is this, the University is a major employer in our community, the most recognizable asset in our community and if it falls or fails or weakens so does our community. So you have to have good leadership at the University. And who that leader should be, that is strictly up to the Board of Governors. That’s their job, that’s what they, if they think Aaron’s doing a great job, sign him up.

Marion Woods: Yup.

Greg Hassler: I mean his contract ends June two thousand and ten, give him a five year deal. If they don’t think he is, bring somebody else in that does. I mean, in, in a perfect world, and the hierarchy is, you know, the faculty in, you know, they educate our youth. You know, professional stuff do, uh, run their departments, support staff make the University strong and the Board of Governors decides who the President of the University is. That’s, that’s the deal. Uh, I mean, Podolefsky’s tried to find another job.  He really has. And I asked you this question earlier today. Have, you’ve been here a long time.

Marion Woods: Yep.

Greg Hassler: Have you seen the University like this ever before? You got a President who’s trying to find another job but can’t, trying to hold on to the one he has, causing conflict in the University, has faculty saying he’s great, you have faculty saying he’s not great. It’s tearing it apart. It really is. And this is where the Board of Governors, it’s now, it’s now time for them to step in and, and clean this mess up. [crosstalk]

Marion Woods: Do something.

Greg Hassler: One way or the other.

Marion Woods: Yeah, do something.

Greg Hassler: I mean, you’ve been here. Have you seen anything like this before?

Marion Woods: No, I haven’t.

Greg Hassler: I haven’t either. Anyway, hopefully, uh, you can take a look at, uh, articles that are written or things that we say on the radio and use your own common sense and make your own decisions.

Marion Woods: Yeah.

Greg Hassler: That’s all we’re saying.

Marion Woods: Okay.

Greg Hassler: And also, you know, I talked about the seventy-two percent of the, uh, approval rating in the community. That was that on-line poll that they did on the Internet. That, you can’t count that.

Marion Woods: No.

Greg Hassler: You can’t.

Marion Woods: Not really.

Greg Hassler: No, you can’t. Anyway, so, grain of salt. Right?

Marion Woods: Um, hmm.

Greg Hassler: Fair and balanced. Make your own decisions.

Marion Woods: [laughter]…

The content is similar to an unsigned editorial posted on the radio station web site.

Since the radio station has a contract [pdf] with the University to broadcast intercollegiate athletic events is it possible that this hostility from the station might have something to do with others’ perceptions about President Podolefsky’s support or lack thereof for athletics?

A little bird sent us the following information from a chart in the Chronicle of Higher Education from August 1, 2008 [A10]:

Top Spenders in Sports Recruiting


U. of Central Missouri

Recruiting Expenses 2006-7: $148,600

Recruiting Expenses 2001-2: $49,000

Percentage change, 2002-7: [+]203%

Median for all Divison II

Recruiting Expenses 2006-7: $28,000

Recruiting Expenses 2001-2: $19,100

Percentage change, 2002-7: [+]36%

…Sources: U.S. Department of Education; Chronicle Reporting

[emphasis added for clarity]

Well, that certainly looks like a trending increase during a portion of Aaron Podolefsky’s time at the institution. And it’s certainly quite a bit more than the median amount spent by all other Division II institutions.

We then received a budget summary [pdf] of athletics expenditures from FY 2006 to FY 2010:

Athletics Summary [see the “budget summary” pdf above for the complete spreadsheet which was made available to us]

FY 2006

Total Adjusted Budget $5,384,833

Net Carryforward $41,480

YTD Actual-Expenditure $5,569,532

Year-end Available Balance ($184,699)

Carryforward Surplus/(Deficit) $53,134

FY 2007

Total Adjusted Budget $5,843,379

Net Carryforward $53,134

YTD Actual-Expenditure $5,804,972

Year-end Available Bal
ance $38,407

Carryforward Surplus/(Deficit) $31,916

FY 2008

Total Adjusted Budget $6,255,735

Net Carryforward $31,916

YTD Actual-Expenditure $6,367,952

Year-end Available Balance ($112,216)

Carryforward Surplus/(Deficit) ($112,093)

FY 2009

Total Adjusted Budget $6,249,238

Net Carryforward ($112,093)

YTD Actual-Expenditure $6,345,556

Year-end Available Balance ($96,319)

Carryforward Surplus/(Deficit) ($142,209)

FY 2010

Total Adjusted Budget $5,930,362

Net Carryforward ($142,209)

[emphasis in original]

Something happened in 2007. We intend to find out just what that was.

Our previous coverage:

Three steps behind, and to the right (January 25, 2008)

Three steps behind, and to the right, part 2 – a microcosm of our universe (September 21, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”? (October 15, 2009) (transcript of a portion of the live radio broadcast)

It wasn’t just about a tree (October 21, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement?”: I heard it on the radio (October 21, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement?”: let’s not get cut out of the will (October 22, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement?”: $87.75 will get you one sheet of paper (October 23, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement?”: They’re not playing hardball, they’re playing cat and mouse
 (October 23, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement?”: a cola and some scoreboards (October 24, 2009)