U of L Board Meets Again, Future Remains Uncertain

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University of Louisville President James Ramsey during a 2014 Board of Trustees meeting.

Alix Mattingly / Louisville Public Media

University of Louisville President James Ramsey during a 2014 Board of Trustees meeting.

While questions loom about the University of Louisville’s future, its new Board of Trustees met Thursday and took no significant action.

The board considered a $1.3 billion budget that includes a 5 percent tuition increase for in-state undergraduates. But chairman Junior Bridgeman said he would create a committee to review the budget rather than call for a board vote.

The budget is just one of a number of issues still up in the air during a summer of controversy at U of L. It remains unclear when, or if, the board will accept a resignation offer from President James Ramsey, who has been under fire amid several scandals.

And just minutes before Thursday’s meeting began, a Franklin Circuit Court judge heard arguments in a lawsuit filed by the attorney general that takes aim at the legality of the governor’s appointments to the university board.

The board meeting on campus was punctuated by repeated interruptions and pointed questions from a handful of students concerned about the board’s makeup, the tuition increase and the public meeting’s lack of opportunity for public comment.

Outwardly, little has changed since the board met last week for the first time. They held no public discussion about lingering leadership questions.

After Thursday’s meeting, Bridgeman said U of L President James Ramsey had resigned. He noted the board could talk about accepting Ramsey’s resignation at its next meeting, which is currently set for Aug. 16.

“Speaking for the board, we haven’t discussed anything,” Bridgeman said. “You never know what the opinions will be and what the outcome of everybody together will be.”

Ramsey pledged last month to Gov. Matt Bevin that he would resign to the new university board. He spoke to reporters briefly Thursday and said he didn’t know about his future — or his future as president of the U of L Foundation.

Ramsey said he will need to discuss that role with the foundation’s board since it’s separate.

Bevin replaced the board last month amid board infighting and scandals plaguing the school.

Attorney General Andy Beshear filed suit in June to block Bevin’s appointments, alleging Bevin doesn’t have the authority to replace trustees.

If the judge strikes down Bevin’s appointments, the old version of the U of L board would be reconstituted.

Kate Howard can be reached at khoward@kycir.org and (502) 814.6546. 

Disclosure: In October 2014, the University of Louisville, which for years has donated to Louisville Public Media, earmarked $10,000 to KyCIR as part of a larger LPM donation. Former trustee Stephen Campbell has donated to KyCIR.