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This is the twenty-seventh 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 and MB

The weekly dead trees edition of the student newspaper, the Muleskinner, was on newsstands today. On page 1, above the fold, was a headline story on the two new members of the University’s Board of Governors:

New Board Members

Appointees look forward to new job, challenges ahead

….”I like the institution [UCM] and am very familiar with it,” [Marvin “Bunky”] Wright said…

…When asked what it feels like to be joining the Board soon after the decision had been made not to renew Podolefsky’s contract, Wright was optimistic about the future of the institution.

“I don’t know that there is any controversy,” Wright said. “There’s been a vote taken and the matter is decided. The main thing the Board has to do is move forward with the University….”

Evidently this was spoken without any sense of irony. If a majority (142) of tenured faculty along with student and community expressions of support don’t count for anything as far as “major stakeholder groups” are concerned, then you could see how someone who expresses “familiarity” with the institution would think that there’s no controversy.

I wonder if Mr. Wright thinks the $80,000 contract for a consultant in the upcoming presidential search (we’re still waiting) the board approved without a Request for Proposals or a bid is not controversial because “there’s been a vote taken and the matter is decided.” That’s a pretty narrow view of accountability for a public entity, don’t you think?

Also in the same edition of the Muleskinner was a letter to the editor written by a student:

….A certain KOKO radio commentator has recently made his feelings blatantly known that practicing Jews and their customs are not welcome in Warrensburg community because they may not fall into line with their own traditions. How can we let such people continue to be the voice of UCM? Where are our American values? We must embrace and learn from all cultures and traditions that wish to be a part of us….

….In the end, we must work together to show the world that Warrensburg is a community of acceptance and not half-hearted tolerance…

And, the paper also had an extensive center section on President Aaron Podolefsky with the headline “Podolefsky Past And Present” discussing the University’s “vision for the future” (approved by the board  in 2006), the University’s name change, the campus Master Plan, and the ESCO (energy) project – all projects during the president’s tenure. The paper quoted Podolefsky, referring to faculty:

“Presidents come and go, board members come and go, but faculty make the institution. When people are willing to stand up and step up front like that, that really makes me [feel] good.”

Moving forward, at least to us, means more Missouri Sunshine Law requests.

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)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement?”: a few more pieces of the puzzle? (October 28, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: your silence means consent (October 29, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: let’s not get cut out of the will, part 2 (October 30, 2009)

Old media irony impairment (October 30, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement?”: I heard it on the radio, part 2 (October 31, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: where everybody knows your name (October 31, 2009)

Methinks that someone is paying attention! (November 2, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: Bond, Stadium Bond (November 4, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: where everybody knows your name, part 2 (November 4, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: I heard it on the radio, part 3 (November 5, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: nothing succeeds like success (November 6, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: your Friday news dump (November 6, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: nothing exceeds like excess (November 7, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: a grade for Accounting 101 (November 7, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: there ought to be a law (November 8, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: there’s gotta be a contract around here somewhere (November 9, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: there ought to be a law, part 2 (November 10, 2009)