WKU Provost Gordon Emslie has responded to Morgan and says he never made the statement. WKU Media Relations Director Bob Skipper says the two have met and the situation has been resolved.
The following is his full response:
Upon receipt of your communication earlier today, I immediately went to the podcast record of the Board of Regents meeting - see Item 1 of the April 18, 2014 podcast record at http://www.wku.edu/regents/podcasts.php. The attached document is my transcript of the pertinent section of that meeting.
As you will see, at no time did I make the comment attributed to me in the press release you provided.
Rather I said that "Murray has already announced that they are willing to accommodate these students and we applaud that" and that "we believe that with our strength in online programming we will have a large share of that market."
I also indicated that I intended to talk to you so that "we can go into this together and make sure the students are afforded the right opportunity at the right place."
The attributed statement in the KSBA press release appears to have been drawn from an inaccurate report that appeared in the Bowling Green Daily News - see http://www.bgdailynews.com/news/wku-sees-opportunity-to-grow/article_969d22c5-8e6f-5fc8-9152-362afef54e29.html .
I was unaware of the concerns expressed earlier in the week amongst Presidents King, Miller, and Ransdell. I apologize for any concerns that the inaccurate reporting of my statements may have caused.
As you know, I have enormous respect for the academic programs, faculty, staff and students at Murray State, and I trust that we can put this unfortunate episode behind us and move forward in our usual collegial manner.
You are welcome to share this information with those who have expressed concerns to you.
Murray State Provost Jay Morgan has emailed Western Kentucky University Provost Gordon Emslie to air his frustrations over a statement Emslie made last week.
As part of an ongoing effort to draw in soon-to-be-displaced Mid-Continent University students to WKU's online courses, Emslie publicly said, “We want to make sure the students are afforded the right opportunity at the right place. Our online programs are much stronger than Murray State’s”.
Mid-Continent is set to close June 30th and is currently operated by volunteer staff after a battery of financial issues brought about sweeping layoffs. The university is currently working on teach-out agreements with Murray State that would provide fair treatment of incoming MCU students.
Morgan says he feels the remark was out of line and undermined the work done by MSU's staff.
“I'm displeased. I thought the comment was unprofessional. I was defending the university,” Morgan said. “My personal opinion is that a chief officer of one university should not speak like this about another university.”
Morgan also says the statement has been published in a Kentucky School Board Association press release, exacerbating the situation. As of about 3:45 p.m. this afternoon, Morgan had not received a response from Emslie.