Please meet Joe Peek, the faculty who was recently elected trustee on the University of Kentucky Board. “Now that you have foolishly elected me as your faculty trustee, I have lost all respect for you, thereby fully qualifying me to be a UK trustee. Therefore, it is time for me to tone down the campaign rhetoric, take on a more statesperson-like role, and stop making cheap jokes at the expense of the UK administration. … Yeah, right.”
Joe Peek must have owed his sense of humor to his days preparing a B.S. in mathematics – of course. But no one is perfect! He proceeded to earn his Ph.D. in economics from Northwestern University. He is now a professor of finance at UK.
Peek, 61, likes to break barriers and does not mince words. The Lexington Herald-leader reported that, for a university where board meetings can be remarkably sedate, Peek promises to be like “a can of kerosene held next to a lit match”.
All this sounded … ordinary, until I realized that this guy is in a league of his own. For one, the local paper publishes regularly “Selected Peekisms”. Here are some.
The Peek business plan: “To follow the University lead and go into sales. The first item up for sale is my trustee parking permit”.
On the University’s investments: “My understanding is that Coldstream (a Research Park) was supposed to be profitable long ago, and UK has already invested over $11 million in it. … I have heard that an evaluation of Coldstream is on the Board agenda. Why would UK give Coldstream more money and only afterwards evaluate it?”
His philosophy on capital projects: “No matter how far you’ve gone on a wrong road, turn back.”
On promises and accountability: Peek mocks the university’s goal of becoming among the top 20 universities nationally as unrealistic (UK is 129th in the U.S. News & World Report). He noted that coaches are fired when they don’t meet their goals and asked why the university doesn’t act the same way with regard to those in charge of academics. “As a citizen of Kentucky, why are you not pissed off that they don’t feel the same way about the academic vision?”
Do not miss to take a “peek” at Peek’s post-election email to supporters.
From: Peek, Joe
Sent: Sunday, April 18, 2010 2:45 PM
To: Peek, Joe
Peek campaign says, “We demand a recount!” UK spokesperson declares, “Holy S**t!”
In other news:
Weather: Dark clouds part over UK; long-range forecast calls for increasing sunshine, with occasional thundering and (en)lightening.
Sports: The Great Wall of Kentucky is leaving for the NBA. The (not so) Great Wall erected around the UK Board of Trustees meetings reportedly endangered.
Environment: The EPA removes UK faculty governance from the endangered species list…. and adds trustee Peek.
Entertainment: Peek emails to faculty chosen as winner of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.
Science: UK faculty members choose revolution over evolution. Intelligent design theory as applied to UK administration not working.
Health: Despite UK smoking ban, fuming continues in main administration building.
Travel: Trustee Peek told by UK administration to go to hell (to investigate report of freezing conditions).
Money: UK announces that in spite of exceedingly tight budget conditions, they will strive to find funding for essential projects, such as a recall election for faculty trustee.
I first need to thank those who helped move my campaign from delusion to reality. I refer, of course, to high-level UK administrators and members of the UK Board of Trustees. Their leadership and compassion and concern for faculty and students were crucial in “getting out the vote.”
But more importantly, thanks to all of you. You said loud and clear that enough is enough, and you’re tired of business as usual at UK. I hear you, and I intend to make sure that others do as well. In fact, I am going to get working on that right away by soliciting your input immediately. What kind of university-supplied car(s) should I request from UK?
By the way, as you know, UK trustees are not allowed to interact or exchange viewpoints with faculty or students. Thus, I have completely isolated myself and now communicate only through the UK PR department. I am pleased to report that faculty and students in B&E are already benefiting from my election. Now that one of our two elevators is dedicated exclusively to me, faculty and students are “stepping up” their games (so to speak).
In closing, rest assured that even though no run-off election is occurring, I will continue to run off at the mouth. Stay tuned.
Professor of Finance, Gatton Endowed Chair in International Banking and Financial Economics
School of Management