Trustees will accept Ramsey’s resignation, students convince board to postpone tuition increase

By on July 21, 2016
University of Louisville Board of Trustees

By Kyeland Jackson —

Board of trustees chair Junior Bridgeman said today trustees will accept President James Ramsey’s resignation at their next meeting. He also delayed approval of a university budget, satisfying students who disrupted the meeting.

Ramsey offered his resignation last week during the board’s executive session. Bridgeman drew flak from the session, admitting some discussions during the meeting may have been illegal. U of L general counsel Leslie Strohm defended the session, saying the board was in compliance with state law.

Questions leveled by U of L students convinced Bridgeman to halt approval of the new budget. The university will operate on the current spending plan, while Bridgeman said a committee will be created in the next couple of days to take a “deeper dive” into the budget. He did not clarify if Ramsey would be part of the group, but said the committee is more for board members than administrators.

The decision came after students Kate Hall and Kaleb Fischbach asked why a five percent tuition hike was still being considered. The new budget also includes a three percent increase to student meal plans and a two percent increase to housing rates.

“Do you care about low income students who have to work full time to work through college?” Hall asked the trustees.

Bridgeman allowed the students to speak during the meeting. In an exchange with Hall, Bridgeman said the board would not approve the budget and a committee would take a closer look at it.

State cuts have bled U of L, taking away $18 million this academic year. The Council on Postsecondary Education this year raised the cap on tuition rates for U of L and University of Kentucky, allowing an increase of five percent.

The hike led to a budget disapproval by trustees before they were dissolved on June 17Ramsey then instituted a spending plan for the university including the five percent tuition increase the former trustees rejected.

SGA President Aaron Vance addressed Hall and Fischbach during the meeting. Vance said SGA has always opposed tuition increases, and that he personally opposes it.

“I do not approve of this budget,” Vance said. Vance said he wants to fight for a lower tuition rate percentage, but did not clarify what percentage he would support.

“I think they made the right decision in not approving the tuition increase today,” Hall said, adding she was pleased the budget wasn’t approved. Hall said the previous board disapproved of the budget increase, and the budget committee asked for a new one before the board was dissolved.

“They said that the university couldn’t continue to fund itself on the backs of students. I wholeheartedly agree with that statement. I think that played a part in Bevin’s decision to dismantle the board illegally,” Hall said.

Hall suggested cuts to deferred compensations, citing Ramsey’s widely publicized $1.1 million bonus from the U of L Foundation. Vance said he welcomes the concerns Hall and Fischbach voiced.

“I think now, more than ever, it’s even more pertinent that we continue to amplify and echo the student voice and student voice of all students,” Vance said. “There’s a lot going on at U of L and there’s lots of different voices and lots of different students and we have to continue to serve every single one.”

U of L faculty and students have questioned Bevin’s decision to hand-pick 10 board members. Attorney General Andy Beshear filed suit against the governor’s acts. A hearing on the U of L-based suit stalled in Franklin Circuit Court today, leaving Bevin’s new trustees in place while the case plays out.

The next board meeting is scheduled for August 16.

About Kyeland Jackson

Editor-in-Chief at The Louisville Cardinal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *