After a string of controversies , on Wednesday trustees of University of Louisville accepted the resignation of long-serving President James Ramsey. For 14 years Ramsey oversaw the evolution of the University into a distinguished research institution and top education facility, but his tenure became increasingly marked by complacency around a raft of scandals.
In 2015 the writing was on the wall for Ramsey after several university officials sentences to prison for fraud and embezzlement of more than $7 million in university funds. Further, an investigation was announced by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) into former university basketball coach Andre McGee allegedly paying for strippers and sex for players and recruits. Ramsey personally courted controversy when he was accused of racial insensitivity after posing for a photograph at a university Halloween party wearing stereotypical Mexican garb (he has since issued a public apology). It was enough to convince critics that Ramsey was out of touch with contemporary standards of probity.
Earlier this year, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin announced that a new board of trustees would be convened and Ramsey would be leaving the University in the near future. Ramsey, who was on a $2.5 million salary, will receive a $690,000 payout. University Provost Neville Pinto will be acting President while the board seeks a new President.
Some universities appear to have a penchant for getting in the news for all the wrong reasons. Take the University of Louisville. In the last two years the university has courted controversy for a number of unrelated issues:
- Last year several university officials went to prison for fraud and embezzlement of more than $7 million in university funds.
- In October the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced an investigation of the university’s basketball program after a former escort alleged former coach Andre McGee paid for strippers and sex for players and recruits
- In November President James Ramsey, whose staggering US$2.5 million salary was controversial enough, was accused of racial insensitivity when he and senior staff posed for a photograph at a university Halloween party wearing stereotypical Mexican garb (he has since issued a public apology)
Now, the Courier-Journal has reported that the FBI is investigating top university officials for possible misuse of federal grant funds. Under investigation are David Dunn, the university’s executive vice president for health affairs, and Priscilla Hancock, its chief information officer, for misuse of federal money for private purposes. Both have been placed on leave.
Ramsey is facing increasing pressure to resign as head of the troubled university, but so far he is standing firm and appears to have the support of the Board of Trustees. His future, however, will likely hinge on the outcome of the new investigations and how much fault can be attributed to poor stewardship from the senior university leadership.
The new Nigerian government under President Buhari appears to be making some early strides in its commitment to root out corruption in the nation by starting with investigations into ten of the country’s universities and polytechnics. Education minister Mallam Adamu Adamu made the announcement on Thursday that committees have been set up to oversee the investigations.
The ten institutions identified were:
- Federal University Dutsin-Ma, Katsina state,
- Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike in Abia state,
- University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom state,
- Federal University Kashere, Gombe state,
- University of Abuja, FCT,
- University of Nigeria, Enugu state,
- Federal Polytechnic, Auchi, Edo state,
- Federal Polytechnic Oko, Anambra state,
- Yaba College of Technology, Lagos state,
- University of Calabar, Cross River state.
The investigations follow complaints against the institutions for charges ranging from abuse of due process, irregularities in the recruitment and promotion of staff, sexual harassment and financial mismanagement, amongst other issues. The committees apparently have ten days to submit reports to the government, which appears to be a rather quick turn-around given that a key part of their brief is to check on the veracity of the complaints.
Prestigious Beijing institution, Renmin University of China, may have recently been ranked among the top three universities in China, but the official in charge of its student admissions department, Cai Rongsheng, is currently facing allegations of having embezzled hundreds of millions of yuan (100 million yuan being equivalent to approximately $16 million USD).
He was apparently stopped trying to board a flight to Canada using a fake passport. Another employee, Hu Juan, is also a person of interest in the investigation being carried out by Chinese authorities. Hu Juan was secretary to a former president of the university before being dismissed.
Renmin is one of ten Chinese universities currently under investigation for corruption, which is a widespread problem in China.