Kentucky governor abolishes U of Louisville board of trustees
- Officials at the University of Louisville are examining potential accreditation issues with the abolishment of its 17-member board of trustees by Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin.
- Only institutional-affiliated board positions remain, and the governor will look to reduce the total size of the board to 13 members in the next two weeks.
- The board’s dismissal follows several high-profile scandals involving U of L President James Ramsey, who has offered to resign, following accusations of racial insensitivity, questionable compensation agreements from the university and the school’s foundation, and athletics controversies involving prostitutes and impermissible athlete benefits.
The University of Louisville’s leadership controversy is almost a mirror image of the one that faced South Carolina State University in 2015. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley fired the school’s entire board and forced the dismissal of its president in an effort to clear the school of millions in debt and accreditation probation — after lawmakers were heavily criticized by stakeholders for threatening to close the school for two years.
The University of Louisville was never in any real danger of closing, and given that South Carolina State was just last week removed from accreditation probation, there is little chance that school will face any real pressure of sanction from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
But the move helps to set a unique precedent for colleges and schools. Scandal is a bad proposition for any institution, but with a school as large as Louisville using controversy as a catalyst for changing an entire board, presidents need to be on high alert for all fires large and small going forward.