Vickie Yates Brown Glisson | Photo via Glisson for Congress

The University of Louisville’s provost has denied the appointment of Vickie Yates Brown Glisson to become a term professor in the School of Public Health and Information Sciences, citing her lack of teaching and research experience and the university’s current budget crunch.

Interim Provost Dale Billingsley notified Dean Craig Blakely of the decision in an email Friday evening, stating that this concluded the hiring process and there would be no appeal of his decision.

This move comes one day after every Democrat in the state House signed a letter to UofL interim President Greg Postel asking him to reconsider the proposed hiring of Glisson, citing the “lack of transparency and curious circumstances” of her hiring and her “excessively high salary.”

As Insider Louisville first reported last week, Glisson had finalized the terms of an employment agreement with Blakely on the morning of Jan. 29, after what she described as “months of negotiating.” Glisson did not inform UofL until late that afternoon that she intended to announce the next day her resignation as secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services and file to run for Congress against incumbent John Yarmuth.

The offer letter finalized on Jan. 29 stated that Glisson would initially teach part time at the school from Feb. 1 to June 30, and then begin a two-year full-time appointment through June 30, 2020, with an annual salary of $200,000 in those years. UofL spokesman John Karman stated at the time that the amount of her salary was “within range for this particular position,” and Glisson was being hired because she would bring great experience to her students after serving as a cabinet secretary.

However, while the dean of the school recommended Glisson’s appointment, it also had to be recommended by Billingsley before the UofL board of trustees could finalize her appointment and employment, which he declined to do on Friday.

In his email to Blakely informing him of the denial, Billingsley wrote that he appreciated the enthusiasm of Glisson for the school and her accomplished portfolio in the fields of public health, business, government, finance and law.

However, he added that “her portfolio evidences only adjunct teaching experience and no academic research experience,” in addition to noting the current budgetary troubles of UofL as reasons that Glisson should not be hired for the position.

“In these times of extremely tight budgets and limited financial resources, I cannot, in my role as Executive Vice President and Provost, recommend the appointment of Ms. Glisson as a term faculty member at the University of Louisville,” wrote Billingsley. “I am sorry this will come as a disappointment to the School and to Ms. Glisson.”

In a statement released by her campaign spokeswoman Sarah Burton, Glisson said “I’m very disappointed in the University’s decision not to keep their commitment.”

Earlier on Friday, Burton reacted to the letter from Democratic legislators by stating that Glisson is qualified for the position at UofL and her appointment had “nothing to do with politics,”  adding that “the signatories should focus on their own jobs, in Frankfort, and stop playing political game.”

Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, who led the effort of gathering signatures for the letter to UofL among his colleagues, told IL on Friday that he gave advance notice of the letter to UofL board of trustees chairman J. David Grissom. Wayne said that Grissom had encouraged him to find as many signatures as he could for the letter and told him that his main objective is to get the university’s finances back in order.

This story has been updated to include the latest statement by Glisson.

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Joe Sonka
Joe Sonka is a staff writer at Insider Louisville focusing on government, politics, education and public safety. He is a former news editor and staff writer at LEO Weekly and has also freelanced for The Nation and ThinkProgress. He has won first place awards from the Louisville Metro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in the categories of Health Reporting, Enterprise Reporting, Government/Politics, Minority/Women’s Affairs Reporting, Continuing Coverage and Best Blog. Email him at [email protected]