Governor Makes Appointment to U of L Board in Order to Comply With Law

Students on the University of Louisville's main campus.

Eleanor Hasken / Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting

Students on the University of Louisville’s main campus.

Gov. Steve Beshear has appointed Bill Summers IV to the University of Louisville Board of Trustees, bringing the board in compliance with a state law that requires it to have a proportional representation of minorities.

Summers, an African-American, served as deputy mayor and chief administrative officer for Louisville Metro government from 2003-2012.

Beshear came under fire this summer after he failed to appoint a single African-American member to the board. The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting revealed that Beshear had passed over three black candidates in the process.

In response, Attorney General Jack Conway issued an opinion saying the board was out of line with state law. He also ruled that because Kentucky’s population includes 14 percent racial minorities, the 17-member U of L Board of Trustees should have at least two minorities.

This summer Beshear also appointed Paul Diaz, a Cuban-American, to the board.

In a statement, Beshear said he is “proud to make this appointment to diversify the university’s governing board.”

“Bill brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the board with his four decades of leadership in government and business,” Beshear said.

Summers replaces Steve Wilson, owner of 21C Hotels, who stepped down from his position minutes after the attorney general’s opinion was published, citing his concern about the board’s lack of diversity.

In a statement, Summers said it is an “honor and privilege to serve as a board member.”

“My entire life I have always been proud of the University of Louisville and its deep history of helping men and women of all races and nationalities reach their potential,”Summers said.

This story was produced by Ryland Barton, a reporter with Kentucky Public Radio, our news partner.

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