Board of trustees saga continues in court

By on September 20, 2016
Governor Matt Bevin

By Andrew Hebert–

Last week, Franklin Circuit Court held a hearing to determine if Governor Matt Bevin overreached when he removed the University of Louisville Board of Trustees in June.

The court considered if Bevin’s actions jeopardized the university’s accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Attorney General Andy Beshear argued Bevin’s actions could result in a loss of accreditation, which would cause U of L to lose access to financial aid and research grants. Bevin’s counsel, Steve Pitt, spent hours questioning a witness to disprove any claims that accreditation has ever been at risk.

The lone witness called to the stand was Patricia Cormier, former president of Longwood University and a former commissioner for SACS. At a rate of $250 an hour, Cormier told the court Bevin’s removal of the board violated the association’s requirements, therefore affecting the university’s accreditation.

Pitt also argued the case was about Bevin’s authority – not the university’s accreditation – mentioning that state law never specifies if universities need accreditation to be fully functioning.

Last month, a letter from SACS President Belle Wheelan to Acting President Neville Pinto was read in the court. The letter said “there is evidence of significant accreditation-related issues” at U of L.

“Simply having our accreditation brought up in this light is not good for our university. Whether or not its actually in question will be decided soon, but all this drama in the court system does not shed U of L in a good light,” freshman Hugh Mattingly said.

A decision from the court is expected to be made before the university is put at serious risk of losing its accreditation.

File photo / The Louisville Cardinal

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