Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

The fool, or the fool who follows him?

This is the fiftieth 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

As reported in today’s print edition of the Muleskinner, the student newspaper at the University of Central Missouri, on February 25th in open session the University’s Board of Governors unanimously approved the content of a letter to be sent to Benoit Wesly concerning their opinion of the on air radio comments by Greg Hassler:

February 24, 2010

Mr. Benoit Wesly

[….]

Dear Mr. Wesly:

The Board of Governors is responsible for the governance of the University of Central Missouri, and in that capacity has enacted rules, regulations, and policies that clearly specify that discrimination is forbidden at the University. The Board reviewed the matter of the statement attributed to the radio announcer and does not believe the content of the statement was discriminatory, nor was it intended to be discriminatory.  The [text obscured] has been advised that Mr. Hassler made a public statement thereafter, stating that he meant nothing discriminatory and apologized for any controversy caused by his comments….

….Mr. Hassler is not an employee of the University of Central Missouri and is not authorized to issue any statement on behalf of the University. It is indeed unfortunate that what was apparently an innocent comment has been blown out of proportion. The Board takes claims of discrimination very seriously, but it would appear that the remarks were not of any negative impact upon this university, and frankly drew no attention or comment whatsoever until following the orchestrated release of your first communication and subsequent communications about the statement.

The Board is regretful that you have chosen to to take the word of whoever is providing you information over the efforts of the Board and Board President to rationally review this situation. We thank you for your past contributions to the University. It is unfortunate that you have further chosen to withdraw future support of this institution and its students. You certainly have the right to your opinion to do so, and you have exercised that right because you disagree with the Board. This matter is deemed to be closed. We will find a way to keep the institution and its students from being disadvantaged.

Sincerely,

s/

Weldon Brady, Secretary

UCM Board of Governors

“…Mr. Hassler is not an employee of the University of Central Missouri and is not authorized to issue any statement on behalf of the University…”

Uh, his radio station (he’s a minority owner) has an exclusive ten year contract [pdf] with the University to broadcast its sporting events. And he’s certainly a ubiquitous presence in the University’s athletic program publicity.

“…has been advised that Mr. Hassler made a public statement thereafter, stating that he meant nothing discriminatory and apologized for any controversy caused by his comments…”

Here’s the on air “apology” from December 10, 2009:

Greg Hassler: …But there’s another blogger out there that has taken some things that I have said, eh, out of context and has spun them around and at, attacked me on blogs, calling me a racist, a bigot, which I’m not. They’ve also called me anti-Semitic, which I’m not. I love all people of all religions, I do. I’m not anti-Semitic.

other voice: I would agree with that.

Greg Hassler: You know what I am?

other voice: What are you?

Greg Hassler: I’m a big Mules and Jennies basketball fan, [laughter] that’s what I am….

Hassler told The Kansas City Star that his remark “was spun out of context” and he apologized on the air in December.

“I said that is not what I meant,” Hassler said. “I have nothing against anybody at all. I am not anti-Semitic.

“Did I actually say I was sorry? No, but I think that could be considered an apology. The whole thing is just silly…”

Ah, yes, a silly non-apology apology. That would work for a governing board, I’m sure.

“…The Board is regretful that you have chosen to to take the word of whoever is providing you information over the efforts of the Board and Board President to rationally review this situation…”

That’s a recurring theme. Not too concerned about the comment, but certainly are concerned about the exposure.

….You are several thousand miles away from Warrensburg while I am fifty miles away yet you have information I do not have….

….I remain curious in trying to understand how and why a person or persons would share this with you….

….you know, this Wesly guy who lives in Denmark, this, you know, he’s Dutch, lives in Denmark. How does he even hear about this from a little radio station in Warrensburg, Missouri….?

Which fool is leading?

Shining the light of day on anti-Semitism can get uncomfortable, especially when one is on the receiving end of the public scrutiny.

“…We will find a way to keep the institution and its students from being disadvantaged….”

The immediate resignation of the board members who approved such a disingenuous letter would be a good start in achieving that shared goal.

Apparently the Board’s opinion doesn’t hold complete sway in the community. There was a letter to the editor in yesterday’s Warrensburg Daily Star-Journal:

….What is difficult to understand is why the board tolerated Hassler’s attacks. They certainly did not need Hassler to help them select a new president. So what, really, was Hassler’s role?

My personal perspective is that the board and Hassler have a hidden agenda. Some day that will all come out.

An agenda? Really?

And which fool is leading? Greg Hassler or the University of Central Missouri Board of Governors?

…Who’s the more foolish: The fool, or the fool who follows him?

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)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: welcome to the party, four months late, part 2 (February 2, 2010)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: those people from Denmark, you know, the Dutch (February 3, 2010)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: a conversation with the Muleskinner (February 6, 2010)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: a simple question (February 8, 2010)

Find the Non-Employee Game! (February 8, 2010)(NYCMule)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: a different choice of phrase would have made it all better (February 11, 2010)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: never mind the facts, here’s right wingnut talk radio (February 13, 2010)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: and we should give weight to your opinion… (February 18, 2010)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: fools for spin (February 20, 2010)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: fools rush in… (February 21, 2010)