Former University of Louisville President James Ramsey has been fairly quiet since the Board of Trustees accepted his offer to resign Wednesday night.
Ramsey was paid a $690,000 settlement to avoid potential litigation. His contract included a non-disparagement provision, which stated he not “say or do anything that would diminish or disparage the reputation or professionalism” of U of L.
But some members of James Ramsey’s family are being more outspoken.
At the family’s home on Thursday, his wife, Jane, said she’s not happy with how she believes U of L treated her husband at the end of his tenure as president. She said her husband has done a lot for the school.
“I don’t think they were very appreciative or realize how much he has done,” she said. “But I can’t be too upset because he gets paid for two years and he doesn’t have to work.”
The embattled former president has made only one comment since the news of his departure. That statement came in a news release Thursday afternoon announcing Ramsey would continue his work on the U of L Foundation — the entity that manages the university’s endowment. It’s also been the primary source of Ramsey’s pay for the past several years.
“It has been an honor and privilege to serve as university president over the last 14 years,” Ramsey said in the statement released through his lawyer, Steve Pence. “[My wife] Jane and I are proud of the progress the school has made and grateful to all within the university community for their support over the years.”
Daughter Jenny Ramsey said Thursday that while some people questioned the amount of power her father held as president, she thinks he earned it and will continue to have “some pretty significant control over what goes on at the school” through his continued work at the U of L Foundation.
“When you’re the person that’s there at 3:30 in the morning, you’re at activities ’til 10 o’clock at night and you are the one that truly knows what’s going on, then you deserve to have that much power because you’re the one that’s there working,” she said.
As president, Ramsey headed a $1 billion capital campaign, tripled the number of on-campus students and increased the graduation rate. Yet, his tenure is also marked by employee embezzlement, financial fraud and the more recent sex scandal involving the men’s basketball team.
Jane and Jenny Ramsey both said they are unhappy with the attention paid to the scandals.
“With a school that size and that many employees, I think they’ve done very well with the amount of trouble they’ve had with the employees,” Jane Ramsey said.
Along with a change in president, the university is also facing a recent change in its Board of Trustees, with 10 new members appointed by Gov. Matt Bevin. Jane said this change in leadership, combined with many positions currently being filled by interim appointments, doesn’t leave many experienced university leaders.
“Only two people [on the board] have an affiliation with U of L,” she said. “The rest of them have probably never been on campus before. They knew nothing about the academics. They knew nothing about the school. It was just, ‘Get rid of Jim. Get rid of Jim.’ That was the main mission.”