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This is the thirty-ninth 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

Previously: “A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: a lesson on how not to attempt damage control

A source provided us with a copy of an e-mail sent by Ben Wesly on December 23, 2009 to University of Central Missouri President Aaron Podolefsky:

From: [….]

To: “UCM President Aaron Podolefsky [….]

Date: Wed, 23 Dec 2009 12:55:33 +0100


Dear Aaron,

As you may know, over the last couple of weeks I have been in close communication with Mr. Richard Philips, President of the Board of Governors of the University of Central Missouri. I strongly protested against the fact, that the Board tolerates anti-Semitism, which is for me and my family and all the Jews in the world unacceptable.

The Board should have taken a strong position against the radioman and the Athletic Director responsible for the contract with the radio station and should have made a public statement to announce corrective steps. The Board has chosen not to do so.

Please note that I cannot accept the honorable invitation to teach on campus Spring 2010 and that I have canceled immediately my commitment to sponsor the USD 100,000 Maastricht Friendship Award as well as our positive discussions in establishing a memorial for my brother Leon, who was murdered by the Germans.

I have decided, with tears in my eyes, to finish the over the last 20 years built relationship with the university. Each morning I need to face myself in the mirror. Yesterday, today, but also tomorrow.

Wherever you and Ronnie may go, please stay in touch.

Best regards,

Bella and Benoit Wesly

Enclosure: e-mail Mr. Richard Philips dated December 15, 2009


That didn’t go well.

In today’s edition of the Muleskinner, the University of Central Missouri student newspaper, was a front page article under the byline of Lora Powell on donor Benoit Wesly’s disassociation from the institution. The article relates the initial October radio broadcast and the various communications in that aftermath between Benoit Wesly and individuals at the university. The published edition also carries the full text of the December letter from Wesly to University of Central Missouri Board of Governors President Richard Phillips.

The institution and those associated with the original radio broadcast don’t appear to have the capacity or the desire to admit a mistake or indicate an ability to learn from that mistake. Sadly, that would have probably solved their problem if they had demonstrated such awareness in October. That is the short lesson on how not to attempt damage control.

They’re probably not too concerned about mirrors, either.  

Our previous coverage of the issue:

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)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle (November 13, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”? Follow the money and it reveals the timeline (November 14, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: the new president search consulting contract (November 18, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: a march on a cold and rainy day (November 18, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: raise their voices (November 19, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: great moments in radio reporting (November 21, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: Oh, my! (December 3, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: It’s simple, really… (December 5, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: I do truly care about the success of our students (December 6, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: “…a wonderful relationship there we’re really proud of…” (December 7, 2009)

Oh brother, it’s time to convene another panel on blogger ethics… (December 8, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: a lesson on how not to attempt damage control (January 26, 2010)