The University of Louisville's Grawemeyer Hall

The University of Louisville’s Staff Senate unanimously passed a resolution on Tuesday urging Gov. Matt Bevin to fill vacancies on the university’s board of trustees by making appointments “without delay” so the board’s makeup complies with state law, allowing it once again to make major personnel decisions.

The Staff Senate’s action follows unanimous votes with the same request to Bevin by the Student Senate in September and the Faculty Senate last week. Each senate has a representative for their constituents that serves as a voting member of the board of trustees.

These resolutions follow a year of uncertainty surrounding the board of trustees, which was abolished by Bevin’s executive orders this summer, then reinstated by the ruling of Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd in Attorney General Andy Beshear’s lawsuit challenging the legal authority of Bevin’s orders.

Bevin has maintained that the current board is illegally constituted due to not having enough trustees who are racial minorities, though Shepherd’s ruling noted that Bevin agreed to appoint two minorities as soon as possible in the March settlement of a separate case, but the governor still has not done so. That settlement stated that the board could not make any major personnel decisions until Bevin made those appointments, but he waited three months until ultimately abolishing the board.

The resolutions passed by the faculty and staff senates over the past week both endorsed the Student Senate’s resolution stating that Bevin should appoint the trustees promptly, as “the present inability to conduct major personnel business severely hampers the proper functioning of the University of Louisville through (a) preventing the search for a new President and (b) preventing the confirmation of new Deans for [schools with ‘acting deans’].”

Both resolutions added that these appointments should also rectify the political imbalance on the board, as its last Republican member resigned last month. If Bevin appointed five Republican trustees, the board would fall one or two short of the total required by state law.

Bevin’s spokeswoman Amanda Stamper has not replied to multiple emails from IL over the last two weeks asking if the governor now plans to appoint trustees to the board, and if he will appeal Judge Shepherd’s ruling to the Kentucky Supreme Court. A source tells IL that Bevin’s attorneys filed a motion Monday asking Shepherd to reconsider his ruling, though Stamper also did not reply to an email asking to confirm this.

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Joe Sonka
Joe Sonka is a staff writer at Insider Louisville focusing on government, politics, education and public safety. He is a former news editor and staff writer at LEO Weekly and has also freelanced for The Nation and ThinkProgress. He has won first place awards from the Louisville Metro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in the categories of Health Reporting, Enterprise Reporting, Government/Politics, Minority/Women’s Affairs Reporting, Continuing Coverage and Best Blog. Email him at [email protected]