Dr. Hiram Polk: 'Ramsey needs to resign'

Dr. Hiram Polk: 'Ramsey needs to resign'
Published: Mar. 7, 2016 at 11:33 PM EST|Updated: Apr. 21, 2016 at 11:30 PM EDT
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Former UofL President Dr. James Ramsey (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Former UofL President Dr. James Ramsey (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A well-respected professor emeritus and surgeon who's spent much of his life helping build the reputation of the University of Louisville is now weighing in on the ongoing controversy surrounding UofL President Dr. James Ramsey.

"I think it's terribly obvious that Ramsey needs to step down, he needs to resign, he needs to get out of here and let us start over," Dr. Hiram Polk said. 

Polk had those strong words for Ramsey as the UofL President was once again on the hot seat Monday defending his decisions following a UofL Foundation meeting.

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Ramsey told the Foundation, "We are not afraid when things go wrong to investigate."

He also talked with reporters about his recent battles with the UofL Board of Trustees and the request for a no confidence vote.

"We had two trustees last week say we're not moving forward," Ramsey said, "we're moving forward."

Polk would beg to differ, he said UofL needs a fresh start. 

"I came here in 1971, as professor of surgery, the youngest in America,"  he said.

Polk is a name that carries serious weight in the Kentucky medical community and beyond. In more than three decades, the former UofL Department of Surgery Chair trained hundreds of surgeons, more than any other chair in America - so bragged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. That's why the Professor Emeritus is so upset with the controversies he said seem to be popping up every week under the leadership of Ramsey.

"I bet you, it will take five years for the college to rebuild its reputation and I think it will take the medical school longer because of the accreditation issue."

Fresh off probation, UofL was the only medical school to nearly lose accreditation out of 140 in 2014.

Polk said the FBI investigation of top health officials Dr. David Dunn and Dr. Priscilla Hancock is a major embarrassment and questions why the two are on paid administrative leave when Dunn alone is making a huge salary.

"More than $800,000 a year?" Polk questioned, "If Ramsey wants to start to save some money that might be a good place to start."

Polk said Ramsey did good financial work for UofL, increased class size and decreased commuter students but is surprised he has not stepped down.

"I don't think Ramsey has the pride or the interest in the institution to protect it and the way to protect it would be to walk away from it," Polk said.

President Ramsey also commented on the end of the season for the men's basketball program following the school's self-imposed post season ban. Ramsey said a lot of people still don't like the decision, but he feels it was the right thing to do and he would do it again.

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