Louisville Faculty Wants to Block Board Reorganization

June 22, 2016

A group of University of Louisville faculty members want to block Governor Matt Bevin's dismissal of the institution's Board of Trustees, even as Kentucky's attorney general prepares to address the matter Wednesday.

On Tuesday morning, 47 Louisville faculty members asked trustees to seek an injunction that would block Bevin's decision Friday to disband the university's board and replace it with a new, smaller set of trustees. They referenced an "immediate diminishment of the academic legitimacy and reputation of the University of Louisville," according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. The faculty members said Bevin created a governance crisis and jeopardized Louisville's accreditation. They also said Kentucky law only allows trustees to be removed for cause and that there is no provision allowing the governor to dissolve the board.

Bevin, a first-term Republican governor who has drawn attention for aggressive actions throughout state government, maintained that he acted within his legal authority because he did not remove members of the Board of Trustees but instead disbanded the entire board through an executive order.

"I have absolute authority -- both constitutionally and legislatively, statutorily -- to disband any board in this state," Bevin said, according to the Courier-Journal. "It has been done time and time and time and time and time again by every governor that has ever preceded me."

The governor also said he expected controversial President James Ramsey to soon step down from the university. Bevin originally announced the pending departure of Ramsey, whose future had divided trustees after the president found himself at the center of a steady stream of scandals, on Friday. But speculation rose that the Ramsey could find a way to keep his job under a new board or because he had only offered to resign or retire after the Board of Trustees had been legally restructured.

Meanwhile, Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear said he would hold a news conference Wednesday to address Bevin's overhaul of Louisville's Board of Trustees and the Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees.

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