U of L professor calls meeting to explore concerns about morale - WDRB 41 Louisville News

U of L professor calls meeting to explore concerns about morale at the school

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Dr. Ricky Jones Dr. Ricky Jones

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Vicious and disrespectful: that's how some faculty and staff describe the work environment at the University of Louisville 

The allegations are being made by members of the College of Arts and Sciences, and it is directed at the department's leadership.

The room was full of disgruntled faculty and staff members at the University of Louisville Monday afternoon.

"These are people who are saying that the climate is so toxic that they don't want to work here anymore," said Dr. Ricky Jones, chair of the Pan-African Studies Department and a U of L professor.

Several of them complained openly about the leadership and what they said was the hostile work environment in the College of Arts and Sciences, but not one of them would allow us to show their face or talk on camera.

"There are literally people that feel if they say anything about the way they feel -- the way they're treated at work -- that they'll lose their jobs," Dr. Jones said. "I've never seen that."

Dr. Jones recently wrote an article in the LEO weekly newspaper with the headline "Why U of L is becoming a bad place to work." Jones also scheduled this meeting with colleagues to talk about concerns.

"You talk to some people and they think the shift in our college is because of the dean," Dr. Jones said.

Dr. Jones did not name anyone specifically, but several people in the audience did point the finger at the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

"I think there is a question of leadership style in the college," Dr. Jones said.

Kimberly Kempf-Leonard is the dean and has been on the job for about a year.

"Some people specifically felt that the college would not move forward with the current dean," Dr. Jones said.

Dean Kempf-Leonard declined our request for an on-camera interview, but did send us a written statement saying, "It is important that Dr. Jones feels welcome to share his opinion. I would like to reassure the U of L community that I am trying my best every day to help the College of Arts & Sciences. Our focus must always be on student success."

Meanwhile, several faculty members complained about having their merit rankings downgraded.

"Without explanation, downgrade their rankings...which impacts their pay and also may impact their career possibilities," Dr. Jones said.

Dr. Jones also accuses leadership of attempting the colonization departmental budgets.

"Where departments have raised money...the dean feels that she should control that money," Dr. Jones said. "That hasn't happened in our college before."

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