Ohio State President Gordon Gee Reportedly Told More Mistakes May Prompt Removal

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistMay 31, 2013

Via @RobPortman
Via @RobPortman

Ohio State University president Gordon Gee's loose lips and free spending have made him a lightning rod of controversy throughout his tenure at the school, frustrating alumni and alienating entire sects of the country.

In turn, the university's board of trustees has reportedly made it clear that it won't tolerate Gee's oratory malfeasance going forward. 

According to a report from Collin Binkley of The Columbus Dispatch, university trustees sent a letter signed by board chairman Robert H. Schottenstein and trustee Alex Shumate on behalf of the entire board threatening to remove Gee from his post with one more slip-up.

While lauding Gee, who is in his second term at Ohio State, for his work elsewhere, the letter made it clear his propensity for putting his foot in his mouth adversely affects the university.

“However, on occasion your words that may be intended to bring a bit of levity to some significant issue have, in fact, had the opposite effect,” the letter says.

Gee has come under fire recently after disparaging comments he made when meeting with the school's athletics council in December (via ESPN):

"The fathers are holy on Sunday, and they're holy hell on the rest of the week," Gee said. "You just can't trust those damn Catholics on a Thursday or a Friday, and so, literally, I can say that."

Gee continued, sending a fusillade of insults toward Notre Dame. He noted that the university was never invited to the Big Ten Conference because priests are "not good partners." Gee also derided the academic integrity of the University of Louisville and the entire SEC.

Gee later apologized for his comments and claimed to be joking at the time. 

"The comments I made were just plain wrong, and in no way do they reflect what the university stands for," Gee said. "They were a poor attempt at humor and entirely inappropriate."

Had this been a one-time incident, the 69-year-old likely would have gotten away with a slap on the wrist. But Gee also had to apologize in 2012 after saying the coordination of the university's subdivisions was like a "Polish army."

What 's more, Gee 's exorbitant spending of state funds has also come under fire in recent months. In an exposé last September by the Dayton Daily News , Gee was accused of spending $7 7 million during his tenure on — among other things — throwing parties, traveling and staff for his mansion. According to the report, Ohio State has spent $64,000 on Gee's bow-ties alone since 2007—both personal and promotional .

His compensation totaled $1.9 million during the last fiscal year, including retirement benefits and deferred salary.

Gee is currently undergoing a "remediation plan," as requested by the board of trustees. The plan calls for Gee to speak less publicly and hire a "coach" to work on helping his public reputation.


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