COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Verbal gaffes by Ohio State University president Gordon Gee have long been a source of amusement and headaches at the school, whether he was calling the state governor a "dummy" two decades ago or more recently likening the challenges of holding together university divisions to "the Polish Army."
His bosses, the university trustees who hired him for two separate stints as president, gave him plenty of leeway in the past. That hands-off approach makes their strong reaction to his latest comments all the more remarkable.
Gee, one of the most well-known college presidents in the country, is having to undergo a "remediation plan" after making remarks about "damn Catholics" and attacking the academic integrity of the Southeastern Conference.
"Offensive statements," Ohio State board chairman Robert Schottenstein called the remarks.
"For the leader of a renowned university, inappropriate comments about particular groups, classes of people or individuals are wholly unacceptable and are not in line with what we aspire to be as an institution of higher education," Schottenstein said in a statement.
Gee said Notre Dame was never invited to join the Big Ten conference because the university's priests are not good partners, joking that "those damn Catholics" can't be trusted, according to a recording of a meeting he attended late last year.
Gee also took shots at schools in the Southeastern Conference and the University of Louisville, according to the recording of the December meeting of the school's Athletic Council that The Associated Press obtained under a public records request.
The remediation plan will "address his behavior that reflects the Board's commitment to returning to the core messaging of the university and its leadership," Schottenstein said.