Kentucky's State Senate passed a bill Thursday to replace the University of Louisville's Board of Trustees and change the way its members are appointed, echoing an attempt made by Governor Matt Bevin last year that was blocked by a judge and prompted accreditation trouble for the institution.
The bill, which passed with Republican support on a mostly party-line vote, would allow Bevin to appoint a new, 10-member Board of Trustees drawn from a nominating commission's recommendations. Bevin's nominations would then need to be confirmed by the Senate.
The Senate's president, Robert Stivers, introduced the bill, saying it is intended to fix long-running issues at Louisville, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. He added that in the future he intends to introduce a bill requiring Senate confirmation for all state university board members. Democrats, however, said the Louisville measure was being rushed through after it was unexpectedly added to a bill related to dog ownership.
If Kentucky's House of Representatives approves the measure, Bevin could sign it into law right away because of an emergency clause.
The legislation comes after Bevin attempted to reconstitute Louisville's board in June through executive order, a move blocked months later by a judge who called it inconsistent with statutes governing higher education in Kentucky. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges then placed Louisville on probation in December, months after warning that the attempted board changes put the university at risk of falling out of compliance with several standards, including those governing external influence and due process for dismissing board members.
Bevin has appealed the judge's ruling against his executive action. The new legislation's backers said it would nullify the issue. Kentucky's attorney general, who took Bevin to court over the board reconstitution, argued the new bill could cause additional accreditation problems.
Opinions on Inside Higher Ed
Inside Higher Ed’s Blog U
What Others Are Reading