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This is the forty-first 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

Yesterday: “A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: welcome to the party…

Benoit Wesly spells his last name with one “e”. You wouldn’t know that, or evidently, bother to check if you wrote for the Kansas City Star.

Yael T. Abouhalkah, an opinion columnist for the Star, weighed in on the story with an on-line opinion piece: Jewish benefactor’s actions hurt University of Central Missouri

What, from that headline you’d think that the evil Ben Wesly has victimized the university?

Where to start?

“There must be a lot more behind the scenes to the story of why Benoit Wesley pulled the plug on his significant, longtime contributions to the University of Central Missouri…”

No shit, Sherlock. Might I be so presumptuous as to suggest reading the previous forty posts conveniently linked below the fold here?

“…The remarks in question were made by Greg Hassler, part-owner of a radio station that broadcasts UCM sporting events.

Special note: He’s not even paid by the university….”

Special note: the university pays him in meals, lodging, and warm-up suits. Oh, and his radio station has a ten year exclusive contract [pdf] with the university. With, you know, clauses in it. Like payments. And advertising revenue. And sloppy bookkeeping when it comes to advertising revenue.

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: “…a wonderful relationship there we’re really proud of…”

…So, so, we developed a situation where now where we’re at, at this point, we receive a rights fee every year. An up front amount of money, uh, that we know we’re gonna get. Then, my self, my staff and the sales staff of the radio station, we sell the advertising together. And we split the advertising where the station gets seventy-five percent, we get twenty-five percent. If I sell to somebody on their list they get the money, the, the person who’s the sales person, so they don’t lose any commissions.

The, the point being is, is we have a situation where we are true partners. We work together, but, but the onus is on them to go out and make the money. Uh, as an institution what I want to do is just get our events on there. But they’re so happy to, to be making the money and to be the home of Central Missouri Athletics and, and we’re so happy to have this great partner. And so it works very well.

And now we have football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, some softball games on the air. They let us use their Internet site to carry some, some softball, some volleyball. We have coach’s shows. We have a weekly coach’s show. Uh, they give us advertising now. I mean they literally give it to us, uh, and a chance to promote our upcoming events because we’re truly partners.

Uh, we don’t treat them like, uh, just a member of the media. Um, you know, and, and we share all revenues, we, we trade spreadsheets often. So, it’s a very nice situation.

And, and when you make somebody a partner it’s important when we have that, uh, that gear day that you guys all know and the coaches get their gear in. I make sure that the sports director at the, at the local station, he’s got his new shirt and his new warm ups. And, and if we have a team that is fortunate enough to advance and, and maybe participate in an elite eight or, or win a regional and, and we’re buying rings for the team, you know, I, I go to my, my boss, the athletic director, and say, can, can we get a ring for the sports director, he travels, we’ve got this partnership? And, and those are the kind of things we do. So, we’ve really created a, a wonderful relationship there we’re really proud of….

And, evidently, jewelry.

…But it’s interesting to note that Podolefsky appears to take the incident quite seriously,…

No shit, Sherlock. That would be our second iteration of that colorful expression for those of you keeping score. This has got to be some kind of record for us.

…not realizing it’s one of those occasionally silly things that gets said on the radio…

Yeah, it was never the ugly culmination of a series of broadcast barrages loosed over a lengthy period of time about Aaron Podolefsky and his spouse:

…On Jan. 18, 2008, AP Writer Alan Scher Zagier filed a story headlined “Abuse claims divide small town,” saying Ronnie Podolefsky “has been a particular target in a town long-accustomed to cordial relations with the Central Missouri campus.” He wrote that Hassler’s “on-air broadsides against Podolefsky have fueled the criticism…”

Greg Hassler was doing his live radio broadcast happy dance the day following the released news that the University of Central Missouri Board of Governors were not going to renew Podolefsky’s contract, something Hassler advocated. And Hassler helpfully articulated what got him started in his disdain for the university’s president:

Greg Hassler: ….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?

“…The, the thing that really upset me, that kind of got [garbled] going originally…”

Missouri Constitution

Article I


Section 7

Public aid for religious purposes–preferences and discriminations on religious grounds.

Section 7. That no money shall ever be taken from the public treasury, directly or indirectly, in aid of any church, sect or denomination of religion, or in aid of any priest, preacher, minister or teacher thereof, as such; and that no preference shall be given to nor any discrimination made against any church, sect or creed of religion, or any form of religious faith or worship.

Article IX


Section 8

Prohibition of public aid for religious purposes and institutions.

Section 8. Neither the general assembly, nor any county, city, town, township, school district or other municipal corporation, shall ever make an appropriation or pay from any public fund whatever, anything in aid of any religious creed, church or sectarian purpose, or to help to support or sustain any private or public school, academy, seminary, college, university, or other institution of learning controlled by any religious creed, church or sectarian denomination whatever; nor shall any grant or donation of personal property or real estate ever be made by the state, or any county, city, town, or other municipal corporation, for any religious creed, church, or sectarian purpose whatever.

The University of Central Missouri is a state institution. Let me repeat that, so it sinks in. The University of Central Missouri is a state institution.

For anyone to (incorrectly) assert that an individual should be held accountable for halting the placement of a sectarian symbol on state property in Missouri, and further, to state that that’s what started their “upset” originally with individuals who are Jewish, would indicate stupidity of epic proportions, appalling ignorance, anti-Semitism, or some combination thereof. Helpfully, the Star editorial columnist has eliminated two of the four as possibilities. I feel so much better now, as I’m sure the Podolefskys do, too.

…And it’s a shame that a remark made on a radio station by someone not even paid by the university has led to the loss of millions of dollars in future funding for education at the university.

A shame indeed. And who’s fault is that?

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….”

But, we repeat ourselves.

Are we all living in a movie starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell?

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)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: a lesson on how not to attempt damage control, part 2 (January 28, 2010)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: welcome to the party… (February 1, 2010)