Massey Energy and Gordon Gee

Mountaintop Removal, Massey Energy, and 
Ohio State University President Gordon Gee

News

June 3: E. Gordon Gee retires from controversial company

Gordon GeeATHENS -- "Environmental activist groups, after months of pressuring Gee to resign, seem to have gotten what they wanted. The Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee stepped down from the Massey Energy Board last Friday, May 29 - 10 days after he was re-elected. Gee had served on the Board for nine years. 'Dr. Gee's public relations nightmare is over,' Ohio Citizen Action Executive Director Sandy Buchanan released in a statement. Yet despite the headlines that he resigned, Gee, 65, said he instead retired. 'I wanted to be able to do it outside of the notion of people calling for my resignation,' Gee said in response to his timing. 'I wanted to make the decision myself,'" Kate Liebers, UWeekly.

June 1: Power politics
Facing activist heat, university president quits board of mountaintop removal mining company

Gordon GeeCOLUMBUS -- "Pressure is building for Massey to clean up its act. Earlier this year, Santa Clara University -- a Jesuit institution in California's Silicon Valley -- divested its holdings in the company. In his state of the university speech, President Michael Engh said the investment had been made "unknowingly" and contradicted the school's 'ethical guidelines for investment.' And in 2007, a coalition of environmentally concerned investors including the North Carolina treasurer targeted 10 companies it identified as lagging behind industry peers in responding to climate change; Massey was among them for failing to disclose how it intends to respond to pressure to cut greenhouse gas emissions," Sue Sturgis, Institute for Southern Studies.

COLUMBUS -- Gee Quits Board of Controversial Energy Company, Inside Higher Ed.

COLUMBUS -- OSU President resigns from Board of Coal Company under fire for mountaintop removal, Gongwer News Service. Published May 29. No link; subscription required.


May 31: Gee resigns from board of coal-producing company
OSU president has been under pressure to sever ties with Massey Energy

Gordon Gee press

COLUMBUS -- "For months, environmentalists have pressured Gee to resign from the board of Massey Energy of Richmond, Va. The groups - including the Sierra Club, Greenpeace USA, Earthjustice and Friends of the Earth - say Massey blasts away mountaintop ridgelines with dynamite to expose multiple coal seams.

Mountaintop mining is legal but environmental groups say the practice buries streams, fills valleys with debris and causes dangerous floods in nearby communities. 'It's not only a crime against nature but a crime against those communities as well,' said Kate Russell, an organizer with Ohio Citizen Action.'Since Gee has been very enthusiastic about green energy, we believe it was a conflict of interest. Officials with Ohio Citizen Action, a grass-roots advocacy group, met with Gee in April to trying to persuade him to resign from the Massey board. The group sent 6,800 letters and pictures drawn by children to Gee's OSU office," Suzanne Hololik, Columbus Dispatch. Published May 29.

COLUMBUS -- Gee to Leave Massey Energy Board of Directors, Ohio State University president held a seat for board nine years, Gretchen Mae Stone, WVNS. Published May 29.


May 29: Gee quits Massey Energy Board

Don Blankenship COLUMBUS -- "Ohio State University President Gordon Gee resigned today from the Board of Directors of Massey Energy.  It had been 14 weeks since Ellis Jacobs, President, Ohio Citizen Action Board of Directors, wrote Gee, urging him to resign from Massey, and inviting him to meet (full text) to discuss Massey's mountaintop removal coal mining operations. What followed was what one columnist called a 'public relations nightmare' for the OSU president. Sandy Buchanan, Executive Director, Ohio Citizen Action, said, 'Dr. Gee can speak for himself on what motivated his decision. The effect, however, is clear: His resignation has strengthened the new consensus that mountaintop removal is an atrocity that must be stopped. Massey Energy is more politically isolated than ever and the good name of Ohio State University will no longer be linked with one of the great crimes of our time. Finally, some advice for Massey CEO Don Blankenship: As you consider whom to put in the newly-open seat on your Board of Directors, you might want to avoid recruiting another high-profile figure from Ohio. Ohioans despise mountaintop removal coal mining,'" Paul Ryder, Organizing Director, Ohio Citizen Action.
May 29: OSU president resigns from Massey under pressure

COLUMBUS -- "The resignation drew immediate praise from some of Gee's harshest critics. 'Dr. Gee's public relations nightmare is over,' said Sandy Buchanan, executive director of Ohio Citizen Action. 'He can now become an effective advocate for clean energy sources.' The group shadowed Gee at public appearances for months, where volunteers handed out thousands of leaflets. It also orchestrated letter-writing campaigns and petition drives. Brian Rothenberg, executive director of ProgressOhio, said Gee sent the right message by stepping down," Julie Carr Smyth, Associated Press.

May 28: Over 6,600 people have said quit the talking and start the walking, Dr. Gee

Go Bucks!

COLUMBUS -- "A total of 6,643 people from Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Indiana have sent messages, personal letters, and children's illustrations calling on Ohio State University President Gordon Gee to resign from Massey Energy. The Associated Press has called Dr. Gee a cheerleader for green energy, yet he has served on the board of Massey Energy, a company which uses mountaintop removal coal mining, since 2000. Mountaintop removal coal mining is known for the irreparable destruction it brings to the environment and surrounding communities in Central Appalachia," Kate Russell, Ohio Citizen Action.

May 21: Ohio Bishop writes Gordon Gee: "I pray that you will make the best possible decision"

Bishop letterhead CINCINNATI -- "Who could be in a better position than you to make a spectacular statement in favor of green energy through your resignation form the board of directors of Massey Energy?... Please do not misunderstand me, Dr. Gee. I do not wish to imply that you have done anything illeagal or immoral. I do, however, ask that you review the moral implications involved in any activity detrimental to our area, our country, and our planet. I will pray that you use your position as president of Ohio State University to make the best possible decision in this matter," Bishop of the Orthodox Catholic Church Reverend David Dumbar, letter to Gordon Gee.

May 21: Spring fashion at Ohio State

fashion
Dylan Easterday and Kyle Marshall model this spring's fashions for Ohio State University students. The front of the t-shirt asks "Why, Dr. Gee?" and carries the Massey Energy check that appears on a current leaflet.

May 21: Gee stays on coal mining board

COLUMBUS -- "Shareholders of Massey Energy voted Tuesday to re-elect Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee to the coal mining company's Board of Directors, much to the dismay of environmentalists... OSU Media Relations said Wednesday that Gee 'is not available for comment on this particular story...' The group that started the campaign against Gee's involvement with Massey is Cleveland-based Ohio Citizen Action. Organizing Director Paul Ryder wrote on the group's Web site Tuesday that Gee "needs to do his homework on coal statistics." He went on to say that mountaintop removal mining comprises only 4.8 percent of the nation's electrical energy and it is anything but self-sustaining," Scott O'Rourke, The Ohio State University Lantern.

May 20: Ohio Sierra Club wants Gee to quit
Massey Board: "Only then will you be credible as a leader . . ."


CINCINNATI -- "We cannot take The Ohio State University's commitment to renewable energy jobs and sustainable technology seriously when its president is associated with an industry responsible for such extensive environmental damage. We urge you to immediately resign from the board of Massey Energy. Only then will you be credible as a leader for green energy in Ohio," Enid Nagel, Chair, Mary Beth Lohse, Vice Chair, Sierra Club Ohio Chapter, letter to Dr. Gordon Gee, President, The Ohio State University, dated April 30, 2009.


May 19: Gee re-elected to Massey energy board

COLUMBUS -- "Shareholders of Virginia coal mining concern Massey Energy Co. have given a thumbs-up to the controversial re-election of Ohio State University President Gordon Gee... Gee, 65, in March stepped in as co-chairman of a partnership of public research universities pushing to develop renewable energy sources. But organizations such as Cleveland-based Ohio Citizen Action have called attention to differences between that organizationís green goals and what they say are Massey practices harmful to the environment. Particularly, they protest a Massey practice called mountaintop removal mining, which they say damages ecosystems and communities. That organization reported on its Web site this week that more than 5,500 letters have been written to Gee, calling on him to step down," Columbus Business First.

CHARLESTON, WV -- Massey shareholders re-elect Gee to board, Associated Press.


May 19: Dr. Gee needs to do his homework on coal statistics

COLUMBUS -- "On April 7, Ohio State University President Gordon Gee gave his only public interview on his role on the Massey Energy Board. He said, 'Coal is a difficult business. There are huge safety problems, there are huge environmental problems, and yet it represents 60 percent of the energy in this country, it's the only self-sustaining energy course that we have right now. So we need to get it right, or else we need to shut off the lights.' Gee's figure of 60% is not just wrong. It is wildly wrong. According to the authoritative source for energy statistics, the federal Energy Information Administration, if 'the nation's energy' means domestic production, then coal represents 32% of the nation's energy. If 'nation's energy' means the nation's consumption, which includes imported energy, then coal represents 22% of the nation's energy (Source). Giving Dr. Gee the benefit of the doubt, maybe he slipped and meant to say '60 percent of the electricity in this country,' instead of 'energy.' If so, he was still way off. Coal is the source of 49% of the nation's electricity (Source). Of course, the subject is not all energy, or all electricity, or all coal-fired electricity. It is electricity made from coal extracted by mountaintop removal. Neither his company, Massey Energy, nor the coal industry as a whole, nor the federal government, publishes statistics on mountaintop removal coal mining, so the best figures come from an analysis by Dr. Matthew Wasson at Appalachian Voices in Boone, North Carolina. He estimates that 4.8% of U.S. electricity comes from coal extracted by mountaintop removal (Source). If mountaintop removal were banned, all other sources of electricity would need to make up a gap of 4.8%, not 60%. The lights will stay on," Paul Ryder, Organizing Director, Ohio Citizen Action.


May 19: Messages to Dr. Gee pass 5,500 mark: Resign from Massey now

COLUMBUS -- "The messages, letters, and children's pictures have been flowing steadily to Ohio State University President Gordon Gee. People from Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Indiana have written Dr. Gee 5,591 messages calling for him to resign from the board of Massey Energy. Massey Energy uses mountaintop removal coal mining, which uses explosives to blow up the tops of the Appalachian Mountains, devastating the ecosystems, water supplies, and surrounding communities. Dr. Gee has been on the board since 2000, overseeing the use of this process as the chairman of the Environmental, Safety, and Public Policy Committee," Kate Russell, Ohio Citizen Action.


May 19: Massey shareholders to vote on board, resolutions

RICHMOND, VA -- "It's time for Massey Energy shareholders to vote on a pair of environmental measures and the re-election of Ohio State University President Gordon Gee to the Richmond, Va.-based coal producer's board. Massey wants Gee re-elected Tuesday. Environmentalists are pushing him to resign over Massey's use of mountaintop removal mining, which involves blasting away ridgelines to expose multiple coal seams. Massey wants shareholders to defeat the environmental measures," Associated Press.


May 18: Group asks Ohio State president to donate coal stock

COLUMBUS -- "A liberal policy group is asking Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee to turn his experience at a coal mining company into a teachable moment. ProgressOhio said Monday that he should donate his stock in Richmond, Va.-based Massey Energy to nonprofit environmental and community groups. The group also echoed calls for Gee to step down from the board of the mining giant. The company's shareholders meeting is Tuesday. Gee has been an influential voice for building a green energy economy. Massey practices mountaintop removal coal mining, which environmentalists say runs counter to Gee's public position," Associated Press.


Under no circumstances will Ohio Citizen Action accept Massey Energy stock from anyone.

May 18: Mining for dollars

TOLEDO -- "Ohio State University President Gordon Gee's explanation of why he should continue to hold a paid position on the board of an energy company that environmentalists classify as 'abysmal' is about as clear as the opaque mining by-product known as coal slurry... Massey Energy is anathema to national environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth, as well as state organizations such as ProgressOhio and Ohio Citizen Action because it uses what is called mountaintop mining, in which the entire tops of mountains are removed to expose the coal beneath... If Mr. Gee hoped to encourage change at Massey, it appears he's been less than successful. The only positive change has been to Mr. Gee's bank account, which Massey enhanced by more than $200,000 in cash and stock last year alone - a fact bound to make people question his motives," editorial, Toledo Blade.


May 15: Dear President Gee: Do the right thing

letter excerpt

CINCINNATI -- "Dear Mr. Gee, Just about everyone in my large extended family is a proud Buckeye fan and OSU supporter. However, no one that I've spoken with is excited about removing mountains to mine coal to further pollute our environment. I consider the environment to be the world's #1 priority, at least it should be since without clean air and clean water, the issues of failing economies, poorly fought wars, bigotry, etc. all become moot. No environment, no future, period. Let's do our part to make the right decisions now for the future of our children, and grandchildren, and hopefully theirs'... My 6 year old daughter says that without mountains the fun is gone for many climbers and nature lovers. She is right and hopes you'll do the right thing, too," Ohio residents Sandy and Dave O'Neal, letter to OSU President Gordon Gee.


May 14: Groups want OH college pres off coal company board

Gee reads news

COLUMBUS -- "Environmentalists are pressing Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee to step down from the board of a coal mining company ahead of its shareholder meeting Tuesday. Gee, 65, has sat on the board of Richmond, Va.-based Massey Energy Co. since 2000 and chairs its safety, environmental and public policy committee. Four national environmental groups-the Sierra Club, Greenpeace USA, Earthjustice and Friends of the Earth-are the most recent to join the chorus opposing Gee's service. They say Massey participates in a destructive practice of blasting away mountaintop ridgelines to expose multiple coal seams, which runs counter to Gee's public efforts to promote green energy... Gee has not responded to repeated requests to discuss the issue with The Associated Press," Julie Carr Smyth, Associated Press.


May 14: Messages to Gee "Resign from Massey Energy" pass 5200 mark

COLUMBUS -- "Individual messages, letters, and childrens' illustrations addressed to Ohio State University President Gordon Gee total 5,233. People from Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Indiana have written to Dr. Gee calling on him to resign from the board of Massey Energy because of its practice of mountaintop removal mining. Dr. Gee has been an outspoken proponent of green energy, yet received compensation of over $219,000 in 2008 from the coal company and holds 28,191 shares of Massey stock," Kate Russell, Ohio Citizen Action.

May 13: Massey’s dark side
In Richmond, the Massey name is synonymous with good deeds and philanthropy. But to environmentalists, Massey Energy is the king of sludge

RICHMOND, VA -- "The $2.6 billion company is constantly being cited or sued for safety violations and deaths at its deep mining operations. Its strip mining destroys thousands of acres of mountaintops. Its huge and sometimes fragile sludge ponds of mining waste have put it under constant attack from grass-roots environmentalists such as the Coal River Mountain Watch in Whitesville, W.Va., and the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition in Huntington, W.Va. 'Massey has, in my opinion, the most unconscionable coal mining operation in Appalachia,' according to Julia Bonds, co-director of the Coal River group,'" Peter Galuszka, Style Weekly.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- Coal miner's doctor: OSU President has mixed energy message, "E. Gordon Gee is a Doctor of Education, but he needs to learn that you can't have it both ways on clean energy. Gee, who is President of Ohio State University, has been urged to leave the board of Massey Energy, a company with a less than stellar environmental record," Zaher Karp, Matter Network.


May 13: Photo gallery:
40th annual Appalachian Festival



CINCINNATI -- "The 40th annual Appalachian Festival at Old Coney Island has been a Mother’s Day weekend tradition for decades. This year, in addition to the opportunity to learn more about Appalachian culture, enjoy bluegrass music and purchase authentic crafts, patrons voiced their opinions about mountaintop removal. 156 children left their handprints, names and a message to 'Stop blowing up our mountains' on a banner, 416 people signed messages to Dr. Gordon Gee urging his retirement from Massey Energy’s board and 621 people signed messages to U.S. EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson, urging her to enact a federal ban on the practice.” Melissa English, Southern Ohio Campaign Director, Ohio Citizen Action.


May 13: OSU president needs to resign from Massey Energy board



ATHENS -- "Ohio State University President Gordon Gee is both an advocate of green jobs and sustainable energy and a board member for Massey Energy, the largest producer of coal in Central Appalachia and fourth largest in the nation. It’s no wonder that Ohio Citizen Action has led a movement urging Dr. Gee to resign from his position on the Massey Energy board, as the coal company is responsible for the mountaintop removal mining that pollutes Central Appalachia while harming and endangering the health and lives of its citizens... While Gee isn’t an elected politician to a governmental body, he is still a public figure and in March was named co-chairman of a national effort to make public universities more energy independent. How can we trust someone with the task of helping universities become energy efficient when he is simultaneously benefiting from dirty coal?," opinion, The Post, Ohio University.


May 11: Four national organizations call on OSU President Gordon Gee to resign from Massey Energy Board

WASHINGTON, DC -- "Four national organizations -- Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and Earthjustice -- have called on Ohio State University President Gordon Gee to step down from the board of Massey Energy. In a letter to Gee, the four groups wrote, 'Your association with Massey Energy undermines your own standing as an advocate for clean energy sources and confers undeserved credibility on Massey’s terrible environmental record... As the single biggest practitioner of mountaintop removal mining, Massey is responsible for a large measure of the devastation this mining technique has wreaked in Appalachia.'

The letter is the latest development in what columnist Jeff Biggers last week called a 'public relations nightmare' for Gee. It began in February, when Ohio Citizen Action Board President Ellis Jacobs wrote Gee urging him to step down from the Massey Board and inviting him to meet. In March, a national Associated Press story highlighted Gee's conflict of interest, the ProgressOhio website began advocating for his resignation, and Ohio Citizen Action members began writing letters to Gee, now totaling 4,147. On May 4, nine state and regional organizations weighed in: Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Coal River Mountain Watch, Meigs Citizen Action now!, Ohio River Valley Watch, Appalachian Community Services, Clean Water Action Michigan, Dakota Resources Council, Green Delaware, and Public Citizen Texas," Paul Ryder, Organizing Director, Ohio Citizen Action.

May 8: Dear Mr. Gee: You can demonstrate your commitment by resigning from Massey's Board.

flood photo
The 2007 flood in Boone County, West Virginia.

COLUMBUS -- "I am a previous resident of West Virginia. I resided in both Raleigh and Kanawa County. Born and raised in Fayette... I left my home, family and friends two years ago and moved to northern Kentucky due to Mountaintop Removal. I lost my home and automoble due to a flood. Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining must stop... You have championed green energy initiatives and revitalizing our communities with green collar jobs. You can demonstrate your commitment by resigning from Massey's Board. I welcome your leadership in promoting new energy sources," Northern Kentucky resident Ruth Highfield, letter to OSU President Gordon Gee.

May 7: Want to help stop mountaintop removal coal mining?
Why Dr Gee?

COLUMBUS -- "Do you want to help stop mountaintop removal coal mining? Did you know that Ohio State University President Gordon Gee is a director of the worst mountaintop removal company, Massey Energy? You can help persuade him to resign by copying the 'Why, Dr. Gee?' leaflet and giving them to friends, neighbors, relatives, co-workers, OSU students, alumni, parents, and faculty.  The front of the leaflet is shown above. The back of the leaflet asks, 'Why, Dr. Gee, are you on the Massey Energy board of directors?' By way of background, it says, 'Dr. Gordon Gee is the highest-paid public university president in the nation, with a base salary of $802,125 a year. He is not, however, a full-time university president, because he also spends time directing Massey Energy’s operations. . . . In exchange for his services, Massey paid Dr. Gee $219,261 in 2008 alone, according to the company’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.' The leaflet urges Ohioans to write to Dr. Gee, urging him to step down," Paul Ryder, Organizing Director, Ohio Citizen Action.

  • Artwork for leaflet

  • May 5: Green commencement speech: OSU President Gee should resign from Massey board


    In an interview in April with the OSU student newspaper Lantern, Gee attempted to depict his role on the board of Massey as a way of working for environmental change within the tent.

    NEW YORK, NY -- "At the 2009 Annual Stockholders' Meeting of Massey Energy on May 19, 2009, board member and Ohio State University president E. Gordon Gee will have an extraordinary opportunity to turn a public relations nightmare into a national teaching moment: As one of our nation's esteemed university presidents, he could provide a breakthrough in the clean energy and climate change debate by publicly resigning his position from the board, and calling on Massey Energy to end their devastating mountaintop removal operations in Appalachia... Yesterday, in fact, ten citizens groups from Ohio, the Appalachian coalfields, and around the nation called on Gee to uphold a higher sense of academic standards and resign from the board. Posted on the Ohio Citizen Action website, the letter recalls Gee's promise in April: 'If I can't make a difference on a board then I will not serve,'" Jeff Biggers, Huffington Post.

    May 4: Ten citizens groups urge Gordon Gee to resign from Massey Energy board

    COLUMBUS -- "Ten citizens groups wrote to academic leaders about Ohio State University President Gordon Gee's position on Massey Energy's board of directors. Dr. Gee is co-chair of the Energy Initiative Advisory Committee of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU). This committee seeks to lessen our nation's dependence on fossil fuels and develop green energy technology. While Dr. Gee is working with this committee, he also sits on the board of directors of Massey Energy. Massey Energy is a coal mining company which practices mountaintop removal coal mining, perpetuating our dependence on fossil fuels and destroying our environment," Kate Russell, Ohio Citizen Action.

    APLU committee members who received the letter: David B. Ashley, President, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Jimmy G. Cheek, Chancellor, University of Tennessee, George E. Cooper, President, South Carolina State University, Michael M. Crow, President, Arizona State University, Stephen Forrest, Vice President for Research, University of Michigan, Gregory L. Geoffroy, President, Iowa State University, Virginia S. Hinshaw, Chancellor, University of Hawaii, Robert Kelley, President, The University of North Dakota, Robert A. Kennedy, President, The University of Maine, Michael V. Martin, Chancellor, Louisiana State University, C.D. (Dan) Mote, Jr., President, University of Maryland, College Park, Michael Telson, Science Advisor, University of California, and Former Chief Financial Officer at the U.S. Department of Energy Mark G. Yudof, President, University of California.

    May 1: Ohio State University parent writes to Gordon Gee

    CINCINNATI -- "As the parent of a former Ohio State University student, I am writing to ask you to reconsider your position on the board of Directors of the Massey Energy Company based in Richmond, Virginia. Massey Energy practices the mining procedure known as mountainrop removal. The public (and I am) is alarmed at the mammoth destruction of forests, water quality damage and the threat of landslides to the homes of neighboring families... Please consider leaving this position on the board of the Massey Energy industries, as it reflects poorly on your commitment to the welfare of the American people," Mary Jordan, letter to OSU President Gordon Gee.

    Apr 30: 3,602 Ohioans Write to Dr. Gee: Resign from Massey Energy's board

    i've been exploded

    COLUMBUS -- "As the national debate about mountaintop removal coal mining continues to increase, so do the number of Ohioans writing to Ohio State University President Gordon Gee.  To date, 3,602 Ohioans have sent messages, hand written letters, and children illustrations to Dr. Gee urging him to resign from Massey Energy Company's board of directors because of its utilization of mountaintop removal coal mining.   The number of Ohioans writing to Gee has risen 812 people in one week," Kate Russell, Ohio Citizen Action.

    Apr 30: Dr Gee: "I insist that your support of both activities is extremely contradictive"

    KENT -- "In addition to poor water quality for local residents, these practices are destroying the beauty of its region. As a firm supporter of our National Parks, and witness to the beauty of Appalchia, this mining must stop. I also wonder how a 'promoter' of green technology can coincidentally support the mining of coal, which has statistically proven to be inefficient and hurtful to the environment. I insist that your that your support of both activities is extremely contradictive. In order to fully demonstrate your committent to green technologies, you must resign from the board of Massey Energy," Scott, resident of Kent, Ohio, letter to OSU President Gordon Gee.

    Apr 23: 2,790 Ohioans Press OSU President Gee to Resign from Massey Energy

    Think! COLUMBUS -- "The number of Ohioans writing Ohio State University President Gordon Gee to resign his position on Massey Energy's board of directors has passed the 2,500 mark.  Since starting the collection on March 13, 2,790 messages, hand written letters, and children illustrations have been sent to Dr. Gee.  Many messages say 'I urge you to resign from the Massey Energy Corporation Board of Directors.  Massey and other coal companies have already destroyed 500 Appalachian mountains with dynamite, and devastated the surrounding waterways and communities.  This atrocity must stop now, and it will take our community leaders to do it.  Ohio taxpayers pay you more than a million dollars a year to run OSU.  We deserve a full-time president.  Please write me back and tell me when you plan to resign from Massey's board.'  Other hand written letters and children illustrations urge Dr. Gee to resign from Massey because of it's utilization of mountaintop removal coal mining and the devastation it brings not only to Central Appalachia, but to OSU's reputation as well," Kate Russell, Ohio Citizen Action.

    Apr 22: Happy Earth Day

    Earth Day 2009
    During EarthFest at the Zoo on Sunday, 162 Cleveland area neighbors signed a petition to OSU President Gordon Gee urging him to resign from the board of Massey Energy. Visitors to the Earth Day celebration learned about the destructive practice of mountaintop removal coal mining and Gordon Gee's position on the board of Massey Energy, a coal company that uses dynamite to blow off the tops of mountains for coal in Central Appalachia.

    Apr 22: Columbus residents celebrate 'green' service

    COLUMBUS -- "Green Space members also passed out fact sheets about coal energy and letters for people to sign and send to President E. Gordon Gee, asking him to make a stronger commitment to reducing environmental impact. The letter addressed the contradiction between Gee's position on the board of Massey Energy Company, which has employed controversial coal-mining techniques, and the position he has taken on environmental sustainability at OSU. 'It reflects on all us,' Podrasky said. The letter asks Gee to stand by his promise to make OSU a greener campus and to resign from the board of Massey Energy Company," April Bohnert, The Ohio State University Lantern.

    Apr 21: Gordon Gee: Please step down from your position on Massey's board

    CLEVELAND -- "What you are doing as a member of the Massey Energy board does not reflect well on your character or the other businesses and schools you represent. Shouldn't a public university president be setting a good example as a role model for others? The answer is yes; the destruction of mountain ranges like the Appalachians is not the best thing for one to associate themselves with... I am a high school senior who has visited and considered attending your school, but learning of this information does not encourage me to continue to support you. Please step down from your position on Massey's board," Lisa Huendorf, letter to the OSU President Gordon Gee.

    Apr 20: OSU's Gee must walk green talk

    TOLEDO -- "Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee has been a leader in favor of green energy around the country... Unfortunately, Mr. Gee, as a member of the board of directors of Massey Energy, is giving the public a different message than the one he speaks. By volume, Massey Energy mines the greatest amount of coal through surface mining, which includes the atrocity of mountaintop removal mining, in central Appalachia. As long as he continues to receive a paycheck from Massey, Mr. Gee loses credibility on his stand for the environment. By removing himself from Massey Energy's board, he would gain renewed respect of environmentalists, his university students and staff, and Ohioans. That message to Massey and to other environmental polluters would be stronger than any words," Debbie Perlmutter, letter to the editor, Toledo Blade. Published April 18.

    Apr 17: Gordon Gee's 2008 paycheck from Massey Energy: $219,261

    PAYCHECK

    NEW YORK, NY -- In 2008, Massey Energy gave E. Gordon Gee, President of Ohio State University, $219,261 for sitting on the the company's board of directors, according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Massey Energy is known for the practice of mountaintop removal coal mining, removing hundreds of feet of mountaintop to get at coal seams, contaminating drinking water supplies and devastating communities. Dr. Gee also owns 28,191 shares of Massey Energy stock, worth $334,627.17 on 4/17/09, Kate Russell, Organizer, Ohio Citizen Action.

    CLEVELAND -- Ohio's colleges and universities should make sure high salaries are justified, "At Ohio State, Gee recently froze executive raises and bonuses and slipped money into student scholarships. Good for him, but it's not enough. As Ohio's colleges and universities pump students and taxpayers for more money, it's only fair and ethical that they make sure that administrative compensation is right on the money. It's an issue that shouldn't be ignored," editorial, Cleveland Plain Dealer.


    Apr 16: Dr. Gee: Leave our mountaintops alone

    anna's drawing

    Anna's letter

    Apr 13: Shadows on high: Gordon Gee’s Massey problem just became a nightmare

    COLUMBUS -- "E. Gordon Gee is caught between stock losses and the loss of his moral reputation. And when you’re the head of Ohio’s most prominent institution – your moral image is Ohio’s image. Recently, students, as well as ProgressOhio members, have called on Gee to resign from the board of Massey Energy where he is a director charged with overseeing safety, public policy and, most galling, environmental issues... It is hard to imagine that Gee - who is entrusted with the largest university in the country, the largest Ohio governmental bureaucracy (outside of Ted Strickland) and the largest endowment of job creation money in Ohio’s stimulus package – would serve on the board of a mountaintop removal company," Brian Rothenberg, Executive Director, ProgressOhio. Published April 10.

    CLEVELAND -- Large salaries at Ohio's public universities take heat, "Ohio has the country's highest-paid university president at the nation's largest university. But while the base pay of Ohio State University leader Gordon Gee is clearly unrivaled at more than $800,000, thousands of other employees at the state's public universities pull down six-figure salaries under the radar," Janet Okoben, Cleveland Plain Dealer. Published April 12.

    WASHINGTON, DC -- Ohio State University stops censoring its Facebook page, "The Akron Beacon Journal reported that university officials said they had made a mistake when they deleted comments about the institution’s president, E. Gordon Gee," Chronicle of Higher Education. Published April 10.


    Apr 10: Gee's take on his controversial ties to a coal company




    Two dead as Massey Energy foreman pleads guilty to federal safety violations: Director Gee chairs Safety Committee

    COLUMBUS -- "OSU President Gordon Gee confirmed in an interview with the Lantern on Monday that along with being a Director, he is the Chair for Massey Energy's Committee on Environmental and Safety issues," Dave Harding, ProgressOhio.

    COLUMBUS -- OSU's Facebook posting ban upsets grad student, Nobody should be afraid of free speech, student says, Tom Knox, The Lantern. Published April 9.

    CHARLESTON, WV -- Massey foreman pleads guilty to safety charge, Associated Press. Published April 9.


    Apr 8: Gee addresses conflict of interest



    COLUMBUS -- "The Ohio State University President, Gordon Gee, just got a little greener, but he seems to have some soot on his fingertips. Gee was selected to lead the Energy Initiative Advisory Committee in maximizing environment-friendly energy research at public universities. This position parallels Gee's support of Ohio State's 'Scarlet, Gray and Green' efforts, yet as Gee sits on the board of Massey Energy coal-mining company, Gee could be less 'green' and more 'gray' than suspected... 'If I can't make a difference on a board then I will not serve,' said Gee, referring to the coal company," Kate Liebers, UWeekly.


    Apr 7: OSU to allow posts on Facebook page
    University changes direction after removing comments about Gee

    COLUMBUS -- "Ohio State University said yesterday that it will allow postings on its Facebook page that don't paint the university in a positive light. The university deleted comments last week by a graduate student who asked about OSU President E. Gordon Gee's service on the board of an energy company criticized by environmentalists... The controversy began last month after the Associated Press reported that Gee, known as an influential cheerleader for green-energy jobs, also holds a seat on the board of one of environmentalists' top energy targets. Gee has promoted renewable-energy jobs, sustainable-energy technology and the need for his giant university to reduce power use to help the environment. He also sits on the board of directors of Richmond, Va.-based Massey Energy Co., whose coal-mining practices have been the target of protests, especially in West Virginia," Andrew Welsh-Huggins, Associated Press.

    COLUMBUS -- Gee talks tickets, crime, "Gee said that he is an independent director for Massey, chairing a committee on environmental and safety issues. 'It would be very easy for me to get off the company, because I really don't need to do that, but the other side of it, the reason I've continued to serve, is the fact that I believe very strongly in environmental issues, and it's better to be inside the tent making a difference than it is outside complaining.' Gee said that Massey has one of the best environmental records in the country and has won many environmental awards. In January, however, Massey paid a $20 million civil penalty to resolve Clean Water Act violations at coal mines in West Virginia and Kentucky, the largest civil penalty in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s history, according to the EPA web site. 'Coal is a difficult business,' Gee said. 'There are huge safety problems, there are huge environmental problems, and yet it represents 60 percent of the energy in this country, it's the only self-sustaining energy course that we have right now. So we need to get it right, or else we need to shut off the lights,'" Dan McKeever, The Lantern.


    Apr 2: Progress Ohio
    Tell Gordon Gee to resign from Massey Energy's Board of Directors



    COLUMBUS -- "Dear Dr. Gee, On behalf of the 400,000 members of ProgressOhio.org, over 25,000 of which are active on environmental issues, I have enclosed an online petition that respectfully asks you to resign from the Board of Massey Energy given your role as a leader in Higher Education and in the development of sustainable green technology. You may note that in a span of 48 hours over 550 members signed a petition asking you to step down from the Massey Board and over 350 left comments which I have attached," Brian Rothenberg, Executive Director, Progress Ohio.
    COLUMBUS -- Mountaintop removal mining dealt another blow today. When will Gee step down from Massey Board?, Dave Harding, Progress Ohio.

    Apr 1: The high cost of stripping



    CLEVELAND -- "[OSU President Gordon] Gee has long held a seat on the board of Massey Energy Inc., a company that compensated him nearly $193,000 in 2007 alone, according to the Columbus Dispatch. And what’s the big deal about that? Massey has drawn some of the loudest criticism from Rust Belt environmentalists opposed to its practice of mountaintop removal for coal extraction, particularly in West Virginia... Get a look for yourself at one of the area’s latest removals on a trip south to Kayford Mountain in West Virginia with OCA. Liz Ilg, Cleveland’s Ohio Citizen Action program director, says anyone interested in tagging along with staffers for an April 11 inspection of the site can call 216.861.5200 for details. The drive will not include a trip past Gee’s pricey estate to throw eggs. As of press time, Gee hadn’t relinquished the seat. 'We’re working on it,' said Kate Russell of the Columbus chapter of OCA," Dan Harkins, Cleveland Scene.


    Mar 25: Massey Energy board member
    Gee under fire for coal-mining ties

    COLUMBUS -- "On Tuesday, he was named co-chair of a national effort by public universities to use their research to reduce American energy independence. Gee also sits on the board of directors of Richmond, Va.-based Massey Energy Co., whose coal-mining practices have been the target of frequent protests, especially in West Virginia. The mining company uses the expeditious technique of shearing mountaintops to remove the coal, a practice environmentalists complain is destroying forests, harming water quality, and endangering nearby residents.... Brian Rothenberg, executive director of the liberal policy group ProgressOhio.org, said Gee damages his ability to fight for new energy ideas by sitting on Massey's board. 'If he really wants to be a champion of the environment, if he really wants to be a champion of green campuses, if he really believes what he's talking about at the Brookings Institution, then it's time to put his money where his mouth is and resign from the board,' he said," Julie Carr Smyth, Associated Press.

    Mar 23: E. Gordon Gee talks green initiatives while taking cash from massive polluter

    COLUMBUS -- "Gordon Gee while representing The Ohio State University talks a good game about the environment. In a speech Gee delivered at the Brookings Institute on February 9, 2009, he spoke on the need to immediately involve universities in restructuring America’s energy supplies, advocating green energy initiatives to wean the U.S. off its dependence on fossil fuels, and create green collar jobs... President Gee now that the truth is coming out, we strongly suggest take you this opportunity to demonstrate real leadership on Oho State's Green Initiatives by immediately resigning from the Massey Energy board," Dave Harding, ProgressOhio. Published March 22.

    Mar 19: How much of a pay freeze is Gordon Gee really taking?

    COLUMBUS -- "Gee will still receive his base salary of $802,125, deferred compensation of $225,000, and the $551,994 boost in his retirement package. He was not renominated for the board of directors for Gaylord Entertainment Company, but continues to serve Massey Energy, Hasbro, and Dollar General. His 2009 compensation for these board seats has not yet been made public. Even if he is receiving no more from these companies than he did in 2007, they would be adding another $460,447 to his income, an amount greater than the foregone bonuses," Kate Russell, Ohio Citizen Action. Mar 16: 'This is our time'
    Gordon Gee addresses the Wayne Economic Development Council March 11


    Gordon Gee remains on Massey Energy's board of directors. Massey Energy uses mountaintop removal coal mining to extract coal, a process which irreparably destroys Appalachian mountains and contaminates communities.

    Mar 12: Gaylord reaches deal with shareholders

    NASHVILLE, TN -- "Gaylord Entertainment Co. has reached agreements with its two largest shareholders with a slate of nominees for Gaylord’s board that would add two new spots to the board. ... Gaylord will increase the size of its board from nine to 11 directors. The nominees include seven current directors as well as TRT nominees Robert Rowling, TRT's owner, and David Johnson and Gamco nominees Robert Prather Jr. and Glenn Angiolillo. The current directors who will be up for reelection are Gaylord CEO Colin Reed, Michael Bender, E.K. Gaylord II, Ralph Horn, Ellen Levine, Michael Rose and Michael Roth. Gordon Gee, former chancellor of Vanderbilt University, and Brad Martin, chairman of RBM Venture Co., are the two current directors that did not make the list of nominees, Nashville Business Journal.

    Gordon Gee, current Ohio State University president, received $105,038 in compensation from Gaylord in 2007. He received a combined compensation of $565,485 in 2007 from Gaylord, Hasbro Inc ($158,746), Limited Brands ($108,746), and Massey Energy Corporation ($192,955).

    Feb 25: Brain stimulus
    Interview with President of Ohio State University, E. Gordon Gee


    NEW YORK, NY -- "Why do public colleges deservea stimulus package? 'We are the economic stimulus. The future of the nation is going to be idea-driven, so colleges are the smokestack industries of tomorrow.' You earned $1.3 million in 2008. How do you defend your compensation? 'I run the largest and most complex institution in the country. If I perform well, I hope people look at me and say I'm worth what they are paying. I assure you, if I don't perform, people will complain,'" Meg Massey, Parade. Published February 22.


    Feb 18: College campuses debate administrators' lofty pay
    Financial problems at colleges and universities, and U.S. limits on corporate pay, have students and faculty asking if higher education can afford such high compensation


    The eight highest-paid presidents of public universities; E. Gordon Gee of Ohio State University is the first.

    NEW YORK, NY -- "With base salaries well into the six figures, the administrators' total compensation is rounded out by perks like retirement payouts, retention bonuses, performance awards, expense accounts, and the use of well-appointed homes and cars. For instance, E. Gordon Gee, president of Ohio State University, took home a total of $1,346,225 last year, including a $310,000 performance bonus. Henry S. Bienen, president of Northwestern University, raked in $1,742,560, thanks in part to $590,929 in deferred compensation from the previous ten years. (Bienen, 68, has announced his retirement this year.) These totals do not include money both men earned from serving on corporate boards. Gee is on the boards of Massey Energy (MEE), Gaylord Entertainment (GET), Hasbro (HAS), and Dollar General, while Bienen, a former director of Bear Stearns, serves on the boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Steppenwolf Theater," Ellen Gibson, Business Week.

    Feb 13: Mountaintop Removal, Massey Energy, and Ohio State University President Gordon Gee

    COLUMBUS -- "Massey Energy Corporation mines more coal by strip mining, which includes mountaintop removal, in Central Appalachia than any other company, at approximately 16 million tons of coal produced from January to September 2008. Gordon Gee, president of Ohio State University, serves on the Massey Energy board of directors. In a speech Gee delivered at the Brookings Institute on February 9, 2009, he spoke on the need to immediately involve universities in restructuring America’s energy supplies, advocating green energy initiatives to wean the U.S. off its dependence on fossil fuels, and create green collar jobs. He stated, 'America’s utter dependence on fossil fuels weakens us in a critical way. As supplies dwindle and our environment suffers potentially irreversible damage, we cannot sit idly by.' Gee now has the perfect opportunity to demonstrate leadership on this initiative by resigning from the Massey Energy board," Kate Russell Ohio Citizen Action.





    For more information:
    Kate Russell
    (614) 263-4600


    As of May 29, 6,858 Ohio Citizen Action members have written OSU President Gee: Resign from Massey Energy's board now
    .