SACS says "chill" on accreditation concerns at UofL; Stivers raised concerns with nominating commission

01/13/2017 03:51 PM

FRANKFORT — Days after the the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges issued a letter to the University of Louisville detailing why they placed the institution on probation, Senate President Roberts Stivers says the accrediting body is not placing UofL’s accreditation at risk.

Reading a quote on his phone from SACS president Dr. Belle Wheelan, calling on “everybody to take a chill pill and exhale,” Stivers said the reorganization of the UofL board of trustees under state statute should appease the association.

“We are not in this, I did not give Governor Bevin a codification of his executive order, neither did I allow an improperly, illegally constituted board by former Gov. Beshear to stand,” Stivers said. “We’re wiping the blackboard clean, starting anew, putting the ship on the right course — in an apolitical way as possible.”

The General Assembly passed, and Gov. Matt Bevin signed into law, legislation that gives the governor 10 appointments to the now 13-member UofL board, down from the previous number of 17. The law also gives the state Senate confirmation powers on those gubernatorial appointments.

The Manchester Republican recognizes the law will affect all governors in the future, but he believes the appropriate checks are in place.

“Even as late as yesterday, a confirming email was sent to the university saying Senate Bill 12 and Senate Bill 107 appear to be on the right track,” he said.

The email obtained by Pure Politics, from SACS vice president Patricia Donat, to officials within the University of Louisville that the legislature “does appear to be moving in the right direction of clarifying the process of reorganizing and a process for notification to current Board members regarding review and termination of service.”

As Stivers spoke with Pure Politics on Friday, the Governor’s Postsecondary Education Nominating Committee met to deliver 30 potential nominees to fill spots on the newly reorganized board of trustees.

While Bevin, and Republicans in the legislature have talked of the “dysfunction” and “illegality” of the UofL board, Attorney General Andy Beshear told Insider Louisville the commission is “out of statutory compliance because it has no minorities, too few women, and favors one political party.”

Pure Politics asked Stivers about the makeup of the nominating commission on Friday morning, before the Insider Louisville story appeared.

The Senate President said he had raised the issue with the Executive Branch, and was told “they have corrected it.”

“Make no doubt. What is fair for one is fair for the other. It is out of compliance it should be brought into compliance,” he said.


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