The University of Louisville has been plagued by scandal for several years and it was obvious that change was needed, with a board of trustees bitterly divided over the future of embattled university President James Ramsey.
Among the school’s most recent problems is an NCAA investigation of the men’s basketball program related to an allegation of an ex-coach arranging female escorts for players and a FBI investigation of top university officials for alleged misuse of federal money. The list of problems in the years leading up this is troubling.
On Friday, Gov. Matt Bevin announced he is disbanding the 17-member board and replacing it with a 10-member board that he appoints.
We believe Bevin took the appropriate step in his actions because it has been quite clear for some time that the current board of trustees was so badly divided it was close to the point of being dysfunctional.
It is well known that the problems within the board of trustees has been lingering since the administration of former Gov. Steve Beshear, with Ramsey being the flashpoint.
For years, Kentucky governors have traditionally exercised broad power, but reorganizing a university board of trustees by executive order is unprecedented and will almost certainly face a court challenge.
Despite the fact that state law is written in an effort to keep politics out of appointments to university boards, such positions have long been used by governors to reward givers. The spots are coveted because trustees receive perks, such as access to season tickets for sporting events.
Last year, after the Rev. Kevin Cosby was not reappointed to the board at the end of his six-year term, every member on the board had contributed to the campaign of Beshear’s son, Andy Beshear, who was running for attorney general.
Where was the outcry from then-Attorney General Jack Conway over Cosby’s removal in what looks a lot like pay to play?
The answer, quite simply, is that there was no outcry because both Beshear and Conway are Democrats.
The actions taken by Bevin to dismantle UofL’s board and replace it appears to be driven by a desire to address board infighting that had festered far too long.
We view his action as a bold and well-intentioned move to address this problem.
Time and the judicial system will ultimately determine whether his action falls within the scope of the governor’s power.
Bowling Green Daily News