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September 22, 2014

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Academic bully talk from Chancellor Rogers about Mrs. Ashley

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Tiffany Brown

UNLV President David Ashley speaks to a committee of regents and other stakeholders last week at Lied Library during an evaluation of his performance. Ashley was praised as “thoughtful” and as a man of “high integrity,” but some on campus have found fault with his communication skills.

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Chancellor Jim Rogers speaks at a rally in January 2009 on the UNLV campus to protest Gov. Jim Gibbons' proposed cuts to state funding for higher education.

Jim Rogers has been called a bully so often in his professional life, I half expect him to shake me down for milk money every time I see him. But today, he’s tied up with a bully of his own -- maybe -- in the person of Bonnie Ashley.

Remarkably, the bullying characteristics of the wife of Dr. David Ashley might hasten the removal of the demure doctor from his position as president of UNLV. Chancellor Rogers confirmed today reports that Mrs. Ashley has been accused of tramping outside her authority and pushing around staffers and faculty at UNLV.

“There have been allegations that Mrs. Ashley overstepped bounds and has been abusive to people,” Rogers, owner of Sunbelt Communications (and KVBC Channel 3 in Las Vegas), said today during a phone conversation. “She has no authority (at UNLV). Now, this is all hearsay at this point, but I talked to David and Bonnie about this, and told them these are substantive allegations.”

Rogers said he started hearing “small rumblings” about Bonnie Ashley six months ago. As for the specific allegations -- was she angrily sweeping loose papers off staffers’ desks and into trashcans? -- the chancellor said, “I’m not giving you that.”

Ashley’s contract is up for renewal next year, and his formal evaluation will be on the agenda for the August Board of Regents meeting. “You can’t have these kinds of issues just hanging out there,” said Rogers, who asserted that Ashley is “a great scholar … but this would be in the hands of the regents. It’s not my decision.” Not officially, no, but Rogers did use his influence -- many claim through pure bullyism -- to cut short the tenure of former president Dr. Carol Harter, who preceded Ashley as president of UNLV. The person conducting the evaluation of Ashley to be presented to the regents is Fresno State University President John Welty. He’s said to be a real bulldog.

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