Kentucky Supreme Court will hear UofL board reorganization case

01/09/2017 01:31 PM

The Kentucky Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case involving Gov. Matt Bevin’s reorganization of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees.

On Monday, the high court approved Attorney General Andy Beshear’s request for the case to be taken up by the court. Attorneys for Bevin had filed an appeal of a Franklin Circuit Court’s ruling to the Kentucky Court of Appeals last year.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges placed UofL on one-year probation based on actions by Bevin in reorganizing the university’s board of trustees in December of 2016.

The move from SACS followed Bevin’s executive order in June reorganizing the UofL board with 13 trustees, 10 of whom will be gubernatorial appointees, down from the previous makeup of 20 trustees.

Former UofL President Jim Ramsey stepped down after the order, but Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd reinstated the former board through a temporary injunction before ruling against Bevin Sept. 28.

However, the whole case before the high court could end up being dismissed.

The House of Representatives approved legislation to reorganize the University of Louisville to a 10-member board from the current 17-seat makeup on a 57-35 vote on Saturday sending the bill to Bevin’s desk.

The legislation, Senate Bill 12, would require Bevin to make new appointments to the 10-member board through recommendations by the Governor’s Council on Postsecondary Education and give the Senate confirmation authority.

Lawyers for the governor could move to dismiss the case since the General Assembly essentially codified Bevin’s executive order.

The Governor’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the case, but Attorney General Andy Beshear issued a statement.

“We appreciate the Supreme Court understanding how critical this issue is. Judge Shepherd ruled that Gov. Bevin does not have absolute authority to dissolve or reorganize a university board any time and for any reason,” Beshear said. “My office will continue to fight to uphold that ruling and to protect our students, university employees and all Kentuckians.”

Download the court order here: Supreme Court order.pdf

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