University of Louisville accrediting agency begins three-day visit

09/19/2017 08:48 AM

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) begins a three-day visit to the University of Louisville on Tuesday.

The purpose of the in-person visit is to verify documents the school has submitted in an effort to show its compliance with the agency’s standards.

Here is a look back at the events that caused the agency to place UofL on probation and how lawmakers and the university have attempted to remedy the problem.

September 2015:

In September of 2015, a little more than a month before the gubernatorial election, then Attorney General Jack Conway released a ruling that said Governor Steve Beshear violated a state law, which required the board to reflect the state’s racial makeup.

In response to that opinion, a board member resigned and Beshear appointed William Summers IV, an African-American, to the board in late October.

January 2016:

In January 2016, once Governor Matt Bevin took office, he looked to nullify all three appointments Beshear had made to the board.

June 2016:

Then in June of last year, Bevin announced that the entire board of trustees would be reorganized and that university president Jim Ramsey had agreed to step down. Bevin said that the new board would be comprised of 13 trustees, instead of 20 – 10 of whom would be appointed by the governor. In his executive order, Bevin asked the Postsecondary Education Nominating Committee to give him 30 potential appointees within two weeks.

About a week after Bevin’s announcement, Attorney General Andy Beshear filed a lawsuit against his reorganization of the board.

At the end of the month, the postsecondary nominating panel sent the governor the list of 30 possible UofL appointees . No names were released publicly.

The following day, Bevin announced the 10 new trustees .

July 2016:

One month later, Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd granted an injunction on Bevin’s executive order.

September 2016:

Judge Shepherd ruled in Beshear’s favor at the end of September, saying that the governor had overstepped .

December 2016:

At the end of last year, SACS placed UofL on a one year probation . The agency cited issues pertaining to the selection and evaluation of the university president, external influence and board of trustee dismissal.

January 2017:

Then, in January, the Kentucky legislature approved a bill to reorganize UofL’s board of trustees to a 10-member board, codifying the governor’s executive order.

A few days later, the Kentucky Supreme Court announced it would hear arguments in the reorganization case. Bevin had appealed Judge Shepherd’s decision to the Kentucky Court of Appeals, but Beshear requested the Supreme Court take it up.

Bevin appointed a new board one week later, renaming most of those he had appointed when he had attempted to reorganize the board previously.

A few days later, Bevin’s lawyers moved to have the case dismissed besince the general assembly codified his actions.

The Kentucky Supreme Court rejected Bevin’s motion to have the case dismissed.

August 2017:

The Supreme Court heard arguments from both sides in August.

During SACS’ visit this week, they will meet with university leaders and interview Bevin before deciding next steps.

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