Trustees To Gee: Future Controversial Statements Could Lead To Dismissal


UPDATED: Friday May 31, 2013 6:30 PM

10TV News obtained a letter from the Ohio State University Board of Trustees on Friday that outlines the corrective steps for President E. Gordon Gee to take after making controversial statements regarding the Big 10 and Catholics.

The statements, which were made in December, were released on Thursday by the Associated Press.

The recording of Gordon Gee speaking to Ohio State's Athletic Council also captures him saying the Notre Dame priests who run the university are holy on Sunday and "holy hell" the rest of the week.

Gee spoke about conference expansion in the recording obtained by The Associated Press. He said Notre Dame "wanted to have its cake and eat it, too."

According to the letter, dated March 11, trustees stated that Gee’s actions and words have often had the opposite effect than the one originally intended.

“Each and every day, as a critical part of your role as President, you are called upon to serve as the University’s chief spokesperson, ambassador and champion upon wide-ranging sets of audiences,” said board chairman Robert Schottenstein and governance committee chair Alex Shumate.  “However, on occasion, your words that may be intended to ring a bit of levity to some significant issues have, in fact, the opposite effect. There have been occasions on which your comments were insensitive and inappropriate and have offended others.”

The two stated that Gee’s comments or actions sometime detract from the university’s core value and message.

“Although none of us expect this to be the case, should future instances take place, they could constitute cause for even more punitive action, including dismissal, and the board will have no choice but to take such action,” Schottenstein and Shumate wrote.

The board asked Gee to do the following:

•    Issue personal apologizes to groups that were offended by his comments
•    Engage a coach with particular expertise in helping him facilitate and foster a healthy, open and diverse 21st century higher education institution with global presence and voice
•    Seek the assistance of a professional who could assist with revisiting personal communications and speechwriting processes
•    Review prioritization of time, with particular focus on a more targeted selection of the most appropriate speaking engagements and appearances
•    Using his voice to set the standards of civility, inclusion and collective aspiration to bring people together

The board stated that they would take Gee’s progress, which they stated he already had begun at the time the letter was sent, into consideration during his annual Presidential performance review process.

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