By Kyeland Jackson —
Interim President Greg Postel answered media questions Feb. 14 in his first public interview since becoming interim president three weeks ago.
Questions primarily focused on issues concerning accreditation, controlled by U of L’s accrediting body, the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges.
SACS put the university on probation in December, citing accreditation standards violated by Governor Matt Bevin’s executive orders to abolish U of L’s Board of Trustees and negotiate former president James Ramsey’s resignation. Legislators responded with Senate Bill 12 and Senate Bill 107, aiming to appease accreditation standards via state oversight and lawful termination of university trustees. Postel said the university has discussed accreditation worries with Kentucky legislators.
“(Legislators) understand how critical it is for the university for the issues with SACS to be resolved, and they all have very good intentions to help the University of Louisville through this process,” Postel said. “What we’re discussing here is applicable not just to the University of Louisville, but this pertains to all state universities – all universities that are accredited through SACS.”
The university has not received word on whether the bills appease standards or aggravate the issue.
SACS, citing an audit on the university and U of L Foundation’s relationship, recently said the university possibly violated three new accreditation standards relating to personnel appointments, relationships with institution related entities and financial control. U of L must respond to SACS concerns by March 3, and a SACS special committee, tasked to check U of L’s progress toward accreditation compliance, is expected Sept. 19 – 21. SACS President Belle Wheelan said details surrounding the new infractions may be reviewed by the special committee.
Postel said the university president no longer controls the foundation, though he retains a spot on ULF’s Board of Directors.
Search for a permanent university president
Asked about a permanent president, Postel gave insight on his position for the search.
“I think external searches are important at universities. You have to see what all talent is available, who’s interested, and it gives validity to the process,” Postel said.
Postel was told he could be interim president for a year and a half, and said he would consider becoming permanent president if asked by the board of trustees.
No 2017 tuition increase
Postel reiterated the university’s pledge, promising no tuition increase would be part of the financial budget this fiscal year, though he said the loss of revenue from an increase would be “challenging.”
Postel has worked for the university more than 23 years, and serves as U of L’s Interim President and Interim Executive Vice President of Health Affairs. Deans and executives close to Postel’s Health Affairs position earned bigger roles, relieving Postel of some duties. His Health Affairs position earns Postel $950,0000 annually, including a $1,000 monthly gas allowance and $10,000 in annual special funds to promote EVPHA goals and “enhance academic and clinical excellence.”
Photo by Isaac Sanchez / The Louisville Cardinal