Links, letters, and lots of thoughts from a rabble rouser at AU. All the information one could humanly find on the situation at American University is posted here. Get informed and get involved.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Leo Jaskol's resignation letter

You know, I really hate to have to keep posting these things. As the Post said, the source is not Mr. Jaskol, but I can't reveal who if you'd like to keep getting this kind of information from me. We do need to thank the people behind the scenes who are willing to pass the information on anonymously, like the whistle-blower. These people will never get the credit they deserve for their unwavering support during these difficult times for AU. They are, however, doing the most they can for our University.

As for Mr. Jaskol, after reading this letter, and having been priviledged enough to speak with him briefly after the Sept. 28th board meeting, I can say with confidence that the AU community has lost a great ally on the Board.

I have one note. Mr. Jaskol quotes a current employee of AU in his resignation letter. I am leaving the quote, but omitting the name -- simply so this person does not have negative repurcussions experienced due to the posting of the letter. It is not my place to make this person's name public, and I hope you all can respect that. Thank you.

October 20, 2005

Mr. Thomas A. Gottschalk
Acting Chairman
Board of Trustees

It is with deep regret that I now tender my resignation from the American University Board of Trustees effective October 21, 2005.

I am compelled to take this action because of the events that have taken place during this past year. There is no need to recount what has transpired, first with Dr. Ladner’s compensation and then with the audit of his expenses, because that has already been well-chronicled by Leslie Bains and Paul Wolff in their resignation letters.

The primary motivation to resign lies with the behavior of the “Ad Hoc” Committee. In my view they have lost sight of the Board’s mission to serve American University. Their agenda appears to be the support and defense of Dr. Ladner and only when confronted by the enormous outpouring of no confidence by the students, Deans, Faculty, and staff did they finally agree that Dr. Ladner could no longer serve as President of American University. Now they want to reconstitute the Board leadership and implement their “programs”. Given what I have observed during these past months, I am not encouraged.

There has been an effort to come to an agreement with Dr. Ladner to resign, involving substantial sums of money. Having been a businessman for more than forty years, I understand the practicality of settling these matters rather than litigating them. However, in this case, my conscience won’t allow me to vote for any payment of funds, no matter how rationalized. As [name omitted], said, “It’s not about the contract, but about conduct”. Further [he/she] said that, “Dr. Ladner exercised poor judgment, has become a public embarrassment, does not have the good will or trust of the AU community, and has evidenced years of disengagement”. [He/She] also made clear their complete rejection of any golden parachute for Ben Ladner. I believe [he/she] spoke for all of the stakeholders of AU, and I cannot improve upon [his/her] words.

The Board is deeply divided and has become far less able to carry out its fiduciary duties. Disagreements are inevitable but a return to civility, cohesiveness, and effectiveness does not appear likely. I have waited until now to resign because, as Chairman of the Audit Committee, I could not leave until the investigation was complete and all remedial actions had been taken. Dr. Ladner has been invoiced for the amounts owed by him to AU for unauthorized expenses plus interest. Various Federal and state tax filings have been revised for imputed income not yet recognized for the past three years and have been submitted to the IRS. I can now affirm to KPMG, AU’s outside auditors, that the financial statements truly reflect the University’s strong financial condition. My work is finished.

I commend my fellow Executive Committee members and four other trustees for their unfailing support. I want to make specific mention of George Collins, immediate past Chairman, Paul Wolff, and Leslie Bains. George brought transparency and good overall governance to the Board. Paul gave freely of his superior intellect and energy. Leslie, as our new Chair, had ambitious plans and, had they been implemented, would have achieved new milestones for American University.

The Trustees who resigned before me and those that are likely to follow should not be criticized for leaving the Board. We no longer comprise the majority and, therefore, cannot overcome the potential bad governance that is likely to ensue. Officially, our voices may no longer be heard, but we stand ready to join with others to help in any way we can.

I have been a Trustee of American University for more than twelve years and have enjoyed my association with many past and present Trustees. The Deans, Cabinet, Faculty, staff, and other employees, as well as the students of American University rank among the finest individuals I have ever been affiliated with and collectively deserve credit for AU’s success. They are entitled to a Board of Trustees who puts all personal allegiances aside, places the interests of the University first and foremost, and exists for no other purpose.

Very truly yours,

Leonard R. Jaskol

In other news, apparently $4 million/# of undergrad students at AU = $618 per student. FUN!


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