Our layoffs were unprofessional and disrespectful
Perhaps Gatton College of Business administrators feared that we once-trusted ladies might be packing heat or might steal vital corporate secrets when they guarded us as we cleaned out our desks, turned in our keys and left the building.
Or perhaps they thought modern business operates that way.
However, a CompuCom executive told me, "We stopped the security walks years ago. It damages morale and is just plain immoral."
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University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto was too late when he emailed the campus later that day that we dismissed employees should be treated with respect and compassion. A UK Human Resource representative told me that they are "appalled" about our treatment.
Perhaps someone should look at the performance evaluations of the highly paid, but bumbling, leaders of the Gatton College.
Poor treatment of employees
How would you like to be told that you had 10 minutes to leave your place of work?
That is a disgrace. Some people would even say it is sadistic. All the people who were fired should get together, hire a good lawyer and sue the University of Kentucky, President Eli Capilouto and the dean of the Gatton College of Business.
Some former employees will lose their cars. Some will lose their homes. Some may even commit suicide. There are a few jobs at Frisch's on Harrodsburg Road, a few openings at Kroger in Gardenside. This was done when all the high school graduates were dumped in the job market.
The baby boom has come and gone. Kentucky doesn't need all these junior colleges. We don't need all these regional colleges. We don't need all these colleges of education now. We don't need three law schools. We don't need two medical schools. Things have changed.
In contrast, the Big Ass Fan Co. has not fired anyone since the recession started. UK should have anticipated or expected this way back. This isn't the end of it. UK is still building buildings.
James M. Steed
I don't always believe everything I read — even in the Herald-Leader. However, if the article by Linda B. Blackford on University of Kentucky layoffs is even partially true in reflecting the treatment of employees of the Gatton College, UK and Gatton College should be deeply ashamed.
Whether an employee has worked for two days, two months or two years, forcing them to leave in 10 minutes is reprehensible, unethical and a demonstration of a significant lack of leadership. Is this behavior what is taught in the business school?
Please find a more humane method of terminating employees. It is only right and just.
John D. Morgan
I read with amazement, with jaw dropped, how the University of Kentucky powers-that-be executed the dismissal of at least 130 employees this past week. More jobs are to be axed later this year.
They walked an assistant dean in the Gatton College of Business outside after a five minute talk, gave her 10 minutes to collect her belongings from her office, and deactivated her university email address.
She reported they did this single file with others waiting in line to get the boot.
Should we treat other human beings this way? This sounds like a scene out of George Clooney's Up In The Air film. It incensed me to read about this.
Why, if the college had to do this, couldn't they have at the very least, done this in a more humane and gentle way?
There should be a sufficient severance package as well. They received just 90 days regular work pay until they may, or may not, find another job. What kind of university are we?
It disgusts me. And I am proud to say I did not graduate from UK. Where are your standards, UK? And don't think this doesn't look bad to the UK students. But, more importantly, what about kicking your employees to the curb?
UK loyalty diminished
Our family has lived in Lexington since the early 1940s. We have always felt proud of the University of Kentucky as a very important part of Lexington's economy.
I was a cheerleader for the blue and white, and met and married my now-deceased husband, William J. Thornton, who graduated in the mid-50s as a geologist and was hired by Texaco in New Orleans.
Most of our family has attended or graduated from UK. We heard a few weeks ago that the university was having financial problems and would need to cut back on employees.
My sister is a UK graduate who worked in the College of Business for 19 years after returning to Kentucky to take care of our aging parents.
On May 29, she was called into the office and told that her position was eliminated and that she had lost her job. An assistant dean took her to her office and waited for her to clear her belongings, turn in her keys and leave the building. Her email connections and files were cut off, so that she could not retrieve vital information and addresses.
I find that treatment to be reprehensible and humiliating. I have loved UK and have been a member of the Kentucky Alumni Association for many years. I do not think I can continue to be a member as my feeling for the university has changed.
New Orleans, La.
UK needs downsizing
Presidents, vice presidents, chancellors, provosts, assistant provosts, deans, assistant deans, department heads, assistant everything and all with trappings. Then some of the University of Kentucky people wonder why they are being downsized.
The taxpayers and parents of students are wondering what took so long. Welcome to the real world. I wonder how many people in the athletic department will be escorted to the door.
Odd UK spending priorities
Recently, the University of Kentucky announced layoffs due to a decline in state revenues. Last week, UK showed off a $158,000 graphics project in the Nutter sports facility.
Rather than use a local company whose corporate and payroll taxes feed state coffers, UK used a company out of Ohio. Go figure.
President, Signs Now Graphics Center
I read the article in the Friday sports section about the facelift of the Nutter Training Center. I am not saying it was not needed but the first thought that came to mind was: "Wonder how the cost compared to the salaries of the 140 people just laid off?"
In this group, there were nine employees who had devoted their careers to the University of Kentucky and were within one year of retirement.
Wrong message on diversity
The University of Kentucky's stated mission is to improve people's lives through excellence in education, while playing a "critical leadership role by promoting diversity" and inclusion.
In 30-plus years at UK, and as founder/director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Cultural Center, Chester Grundy has made extraordinary and unmatched contributions to UK's mission.
He has mentored, educated and uplifted the lives of thousands of UK students, and his keen sensibilities and learned insights into vital issues related to cross-cultural understanding and communication are unprecedented. His resume of good works for UK and this community is far-reaching.
UK's abrupt, callous termination of Grundy is an outrage. New president Eli Capilouto's approval of this unconscionable act displays extreme ignorance and blatant disregard toward Grundy's long history of invaluable work with the African-American community at UK and beyond, and his contributions to UK and the region as a whole.
Capilouto's outsider ignorance and insensitivity to historical race relations in Kentucky and at UK are also evident in this disgraceful action.
His tactless treatment of one of UK's greatest assets only reinforces a long-standing reputation among many African-Americans that UK is a racist institution, caring only about African-American students who excel in athletics.
For his predominantly African-American basketball team, Capilouto enthusiastically approves millions of dollars to pay their teacher and mentor.
But for UK's African-American students at large, Capilouto shamefully approves the termination of their equally gifted teacher and mentor, who worked for a fraction of John Calipari's pay.
While a student at the University of Kentucky, specifically while serving as the school's first Latino student body president and student member of the Board of Trustees, I had the honor of working closely with Chester Grundy in building cross-group rapprochement between students, not to mention countering daily instances of discrimination the university failed to address.
Through guest lectures, cultural programs and inter-organizational meetings, he exposed students of all walks of life to histories of oppression swept under the rug of denial, while also teaching students that coalition-building, tolerance and understanding are possible through healthy dialogue and debate.
As for my own intellectual development, Grundy served as the African American professor I never had during my four years at the university, as the "faces" that taught me were overwhelmingly white and male (this despite efforts of all the "diversity" committees I served on).
Considering the millions in revenue the basketball program generates, along with the university's strong endowment and giving, keeping Grundy until his imminent retirement in two years or allowing someone of his stature to leave on his own terms is not only the right thing to do, but is merely a drop in the budgetary bucket.
The overall message that Grundy's dismissal sends is that the university's commitment to diversity remains specific to athletics and general revenue-building efforts, and that organizational support for the intellectual growth for minorities (for student, administrator and faculty alike) is relegated to the back burner. I hope that one day this is proven otherwise.
Alan A. Aja
Assistant Professor & Deputy Chair
Department of Puerto Rican & Latino Studies