Governor Candidates Criticize Beshear Over University of Louisville Board Appointments

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Gubernatorial candidates from both parties have come out swinging against Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear’s appointments to the University of Louisville’s Board of Trustees.

“It is unconscionable,” Republican Matt Bevin told WFPL on Tuesday. “It is wrong, and I would question whether or not it is racially motivated that our governor and attorney general have no qualm with — even though it’s statutorily required — having no representation of any blacks on the University of Louisville board.”

In July, we broke the story about Beshear passing over three black candidates for appointments to the powerful board, which lacks a governor-appointed black representative for the first time in 45 years. The board’s student body representative is African-American. Last month, we reported that the state’s university boards are stacked with Democrats, a violation of state law that demands the boards reflect the ratios of registered Democrats and Republicans in the state.

Democratic candidate, Attorney General Jack Conway, criticized Beshear last week. “That is not right, to have a metropolitan research university in a county that’s 20 percent African-American and not have African-Americans on the board of trustees,” Conway told The Courier-Journal.

Religious leaders from West Louisville have asked Conway’s office to issue a legal opinion on whether Beshear violated a state law requiring board appointments to represent Kentucky’s racial makeup, WFPL reported. And earlier this month, the Justice Resource Center accused Conway’s office of dragging its feet on issuing an opinion. Conway’s office has said the matter has been assigned to a staff attorney and is in a research phase.

Beshear previously told WFPL he was “very proud of the minority appointments we’ve made through the years.”

Conway and Bevin are currently in a statistical dead heat less than two months from Election Day. Drew Curtis is running as an independent in the race.

For more on this issue, check out the latest report from our WFPL colleagues.

  • kentuckywoman2

    I think we have a problem when we care more about the color of a person’s skin than the quality of the person’s “fitness” for the job. Personally, I think we perpetuate racism by having a “quota system” in place where we have to appoint someone based on his/her skin color, rather than qualifications or merit.