In Other News… Ramsey resigns, Butler Traditional dress code controversy, Bryson Tiller VMA nominations, Looking for Lilith, and Chris Pratt on Jennifer Lawrence
Resigned: University of Louisville president James Ramsey officially resigned this week, reports Reuters, U.S. News and World Report, Education Dive and NPR. His 14-year tenure has been plagued by scandal since last fall.
Last month, Gov. Matt Bevin disbanded the University’s Board of Trustees — which maybe he’s not exactly allowed to do that; there’s a lawsuit underway to figure that one out. Dr. Ramsey said he’d offer his resignation when the new board convened.
He kind of did that, maybe. He read a prepared statement that sounded a lot like a resignation, but then he left the room, leaving the Board of Trustees to think he didn’t really resign. Board Chairman Junior Bridgeman called to check and yes, he totally resigned. Only he didn’t really until Wednesday.
As severance packages go, it’s not too bad: $690,000 and Ramsey agrees not to sue the University. That may be a new professional goal — to do something that someone will pay me close to a million dollars not to do.
Mr. Bridgeman cited Dr. Ramsey’s many contributions to the university:
“By any measure – student retention and graduation rates, research funding and successes, student achievement and fundraising – the University of Louisville is a different, far better institution because of Dr. Ramsey.”
Unfortunately, that legacy may be colored by what’s come at the end: an FBI investigation regarding possible misuse of federal funds and an NCAA investigation into misconduct by the men’s basketball team with allegations of strippers being used to entice new recruits.
Dress Code: Louisville’s Butler Traditional High School is making news for its dress code policy, says Yahoo and Essence.
When rising sophomore Ashanti Scott attended registration at Butler, she perused her welcome materials to find some new policies in place in the hair and personal grooming section.
Hair styles that are extreme, distracting, or attention getting will not be permitted. No dreadlocks, cornrolls (sic), twists, mohawks, and no jewelry will be worn in hair.
“Cornrolls.” Don’t you think if you’re against a thing you ought know how to spell the thing you’re against?
The policy goes on to say no Afros “more than two inches in length” and no “cut-in designs, braids, and tails.”
This caught the attention of Ashanti’s mom, Kentucky state representative elect, Attica Scott, who shared the policy on Twitter:
— Attica Scott (@atticascott4ky) July 27, 2016
That post has now been retweeted 760 times as of this writing and prompted plenty of outrage. Said Ms. Scott:
“I don’t understand why we’re going to focus on something like natural hair styles when we should be focused on education. They specifically outlined hairstyles that are worn most by black kids. To me, this stinks of institutional racism.”
One can only hope the locs worn by Attica Scott — “distracting” by Butler’s policy — won’t keep her from succeeding in life as she starts work as the first black woman to serve in the Kentucky legislature in 20 years.
Kentucky’s ACLU weighed in:
Singling out culturally specific hairstyles may send a signal to students of color that their very being is a distraction in the classroom
— ACLU of Kentucky (@ACLUofKY) July 28, 2016
Butler responded on Twitter late Wednesday night:
We value any feedback regarding our policies. Please contact school admin. if you have any questions/concerns. https://t.co/FlqPzq6LTP
— Butler High School (@BTHS_Bears) July 28, 2016
I am confident the school is, in fact, being contacted with questions and concerns.
Mr. Tiller is nominated for “Best New Artist” and “Best Male Video” and “Best Hip Hop Video” for “Dont.”
Here’s that video (not work-friendly):
Beyoncé beats everybody, like she does, with 11 nominations; she’s in just about every category possible.
The 33rd annual VMAs will air live on MTV at 9 p.m. on Aug. 28.
Looking for Lilith: A month or so ago, we talked about Louisville’s own Looking for Lilith taking their production of “Alice in Black and White” to 59E59 Theaters in New York City. Well, my friends, that date is fast approaching and The New York Times now has them listed in its previews:
‘Alice in Black and White’ (previews start on Wednesday; opens on Aug. 7) A historical romance between a Gertrude and an Alice, though not the most famous ones, figures in this play by Robin Rice. Presented by Looking for Lilith Theater Company, it is based on the true story of the obscure Victorian street photographer Alice Austen, whose passions were pictures and her partner, Gertrude Tate. 59E59 Theaters, 59 East 59th Street, 212-279-4200, 59e59.org. (Laura Collins-Hughes)
So this is kind of a big deal. If you’re in New York in a couple of weeks (or already there), you’re going to want to wander by. If you’re not, you can wish them well and be proud of the art grown right here in your fair city. Either way.
Taking it Slow: Your big San Diego ComicCon was last weekend. For those who don’t know, ComicCon hasn’t just been about comics in maybe forever; it’s a major player in previewing the latest and greatest from Hollywood, particularly those appealing to a certain science fiction, action, fantasy super hero kind of base. So you get all sorts of announcements, celebrity appearances, sneak peeks and first looks.
No surprise, then, that Chris Pratt was there to talk “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2” and his big Sony vehicle with Jennifer Lawrence, “Passengers.”
Apparently, there’s a sex scene in this movie. (It’s like we’re in sixth Grade and anytime this movie has come up over the last year, it’s all anyone’s wanted to talk about.)
No surprise again that the loathed E! would ask after it when they caught up with Mr. Pratt:
“Your job as a leading man is to make the actress feel comfortable and you do that by minimizing the amount of people that are there and…having a sense of whether or not they’re feeling okay.”
Such a gentleman. Maybe one day someone will ask him something about the actual movie.
Speaking of ComicCon, a few of you took issue with my running commentary on “The Flash” last week. Let’s turn to reader mail:
Funny stuff with the Flash this week. However, it’s my favorite show and I worry someone just looking at what you wrote or quotes pulled out of context will think it’s stupid. I don’t think you gave it a fair chance.
A few things:
What I actually wrote was it had a lot of good and charm to it, but could also wander into goofy right quick.
I made it through at least 10 episodes, which I think is a pretty fair chance.
And I don’t know that there are too many ways to take “Your evil hearing aid won’t help you escape this time” out of context. I think that quote is, in fact, the context.
But allow me to make amends with this ComicCon trailer for “The Flash,” Season Three:
Which ends with a man yelling, “Now who’s the villain, Flash?! Now who’s the villain?”
You are, I guess? I don’t know.
Also, here’s a whole slew of footage, including first looks at “Justice League” and “Wonder Woman.”
Shameless self promotion: Come see Kentucky Shakespeare’s Globe Players this weekend in their production of “As You Like It.” You’ll be supporting our professional training program as 21 hard-working, talented and just flat-out amazing high school students from Jefferson County and Southern Indiana put on a great show, culminating their six weeks of training and rehearsal. Directed by yours truly. Come see us in Central Park, Friday or Saturday night, at 8 p.m.
See you next week.