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This is the twenty-eighth 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

From a Gentleman’s Agreement (1947):

“….But I’ve come to see lots of nice people who hate it and deplore it and protest their own innocence, then help it along and wonder why it grows. People who would never beat up a Jew. People who think anti-Semitism is far away in some dark place with low-class morons. That’s the biggest discovery I’ve made. The good people. The nice people….”

The Kansas City Jewish Chronicle came to campus this week to cover the story:

Was anti-Semitism factor in college prexy’s exit?

Written by Rick Hellman, Editor  

Friday, 13 November 2009 12:00

“….It’s not appropriate for me to speculate about Mr. Hassler’s motives,” said Podolefsky. “But I have been asked repeatedly what he has against me and Ronnie, because this has been going on for two and a half years.”

Hassler returned The Chronicle’s request for comment via e-mail, saying:

“First of all let me say that I am not anti-Semitic, I love all people of all religions. I have never stated anything about anyone’s religion on or off the air. People have taken a comment out of context and have spun it for their purpose. All I have done is question the leadership and decisions that were made by the President of UCM … It is unfortunate that people that have never met or talked to me can draw incorrect conclusions about the type of person I am….”

The transcript from October 14th:

Greg Hassler: …The University of Central Missouri. End of an era.

Marion Woods: Uh, huh.

Greg Hassler: Aaron Podolefsky. Out. We’ve talked about it for a long time….

….The, the thing that really upset me, that kind of got [garbled] going originally was, for years there was a Christmas tree lit at Selmo Park. Remember that?

Marion Woods: Yep.

Greg Hassler: Drive by. He stopped that. I mean I think every religion should be able to celebrate, uh, in their own way, but, I mean we do live in Warrensburg, Missouri. This is America. You know. Let’s bring that back. How ’bout that?

Marion Woods: Wasn’t that the Christmas tree at the quadrangle?

Greg Hassler: No, there was also one at Selmo Park.

Marion Woods: Oh, okay.

Gregg Hassler: In the, in the yard, area there, so. I mean, I don’t know, it’s jus… It, it was a bad fit from the get go. It’s, it’s over…

Richard Phillips, the President of the University of Central Missouri Board of Governors was also quoted in the Chronicle story:

….Phillips responded to The Chronicle’s e-mailed inquiry about the matter with this:

“As you should know, discussions with regard to personnel matters of the University are not appropriate for public disclosure. Contrary to the tone and implications of your questions, the University does not discriminate as to anyone on any basis.

“I was appointed to the UCM Board of Governors in February of 2005, a few weeks after Aaron was selected to serve as president. Not once has Aaron’s religion been mentioned in any Board discussion….”

That’s interesting. There’s only one mention in the article about not tolerating people who do.

On October 23, 2009 Richard Phillips wrote in reply to Benoit Wesly:

…We have a Board meeting next week on October 29 and I will bring this matter to the attention of our Board and will get back to you on any action taken.  Please be assured our University will not tolerate discriminatory acts against any group and I will personally look into this matter…

As Blue Girl wrote:

…I attended the Board of Governors meeting. I recorded the Board of Governors meeting. I was there nearly an hour before it started. There was no discussion of the “matter,” the subject was not broached, let alone any action taken. I work for an attorney, so I utilized the resource and asked the obvious question: Is the matter of Hassler’s comments something that they could discuss in closed session? I got a one word response: “No.” Such discussion or action would not fall under the exclusionary provisions of the Missouri Sunshine Law.

The public silence is deafening.

So much for action.

“….But I’ve come to see lots of nice people who hate it and deplore it and protest their own innocence, then help it along and wonder why it grows…”

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)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: Garbo speaks! (November 12, 2009)