LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — University of Louisville trustees on Wednesday accepted the resignation of embattled President James Ramsey, whose long tenure was dogged by scandal.
The action at a special meeting of the school’s board signaled the end of an era. Ramsey, a former state budget director, has led the university for 14 years.
After six hours of closed-door deliberations, the board announced late Wednesday that Ramsey will be paid $690,000 and will resign immediately, with an agreement not to sue the school.
Ramsey was credited with raising academic standards and boosting the school from a commuter campus to a distinguished research institution. But he came under increasing fire for embezzlement scandals and a string of other embarrassments, including an FBI investigation of top university officials for alleged misuse of federal money and an NCAA investigation into whether a university employee paid women to strip and have sex with basketball players.
The controversies boiled over in the past two years. The Courier-Journal reported last year that the Board of Trustees challenged Ramsey’s salary of more than $600,000, with millions more in deferred compensation paid by the university foundation.
Then, in October, an escort named Katina Powell released the book “Breaking Cardinal Rules” that alleged a basketball team employee hired her and other dancers to entertain players and recruits at sex parties at the men’s basketball players’ dorm. The NCAA launched an investigation and Ramsey announced in February that the team would not play in post-season tournaments.
Dozens of professors signed a letter to him complaining about the “drumbeat of crises” and some trustees attempted a no-confidence vote to have him ousted in the spring. Ramsey said at the time that he would not resign.
But Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin dismantled the former Board of Trustees last month. Ramsey wrote the governor a letter offering to tender his resignation to the newly appointed board, launching a bumpy series of meetings that led to his eventual ouster late Wednesday.
The afternoon began with an agreement seemingly far more generous for Ramsey: He would collect his salary for a year as he served as interim president while the school searched for a new leader. But the closed-door negotiations stretched into the night, and the board announced just before 11 p.m. that Ramsey would be out immediately.
The board also voted to begin its search for a new president.