The Louisville Cardinal

U of L interim president: university on “right path” towards re-accreditation

Faculty Senate, Isaac Sanchez

By Kyeland Jackson —

Interim President Greg Postel says the university may be on the right path of retaining accreditation.

Postel, appointed by the U of L’s Board of Trustees Jan. 21, met with Council on Postsecondary Education President Robert King, Governor Matt Bevin and Senate President Robert Stivers last week. Citing discussion with them and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, U of L’s accrediting agency, Postel says the university is heading in the right direction.

“There’s an active dialogue with SACS. There’s an active dialogue with our state representatives, and, so far, all indications are that we’re on the right path,” Postel said. “We’re not there yet, but we’re on the right path. And so if we need to make adjustments we will. But so far, so good.”

Postel has worked for the university for 22 years, and retains his title as executive vice president for health affairs. Postel reported to the faculty senate as U of L’s interim president for the first time Feb. 1, detailing the university’s progress and defending his decision to retain both titles. Postel said the university granted powers to health affairs administrators near him to relieve some of his duties.

Postel pledged to support creating spots for student, faculty and staff representatives on the U of L Foundation Board of Directors, U of L’s endowment manager. Postel chairs the nominating committee but said the full board determines whether such a measure would pass. Student Government Administration President Aaron Vance previously said he received positive feedback on creating a student position on the board.

Postel also introduced Chief Administration Officer David Adams, who leads Interim Chief Financial Officer Susan Howarth and Interim Chief Operating Officer Lee Smith. Smith and Howarth filled Harlan Sands’ dual title position, vacated after Sands resigned for a position at the University of Pennsylvania.

During the meeting, senators endorsed recommendations revising Senate Bill 107 sent by CPE. CPE’s recommendations include charging university boards with removing fellow trustees for cause, including CPE in nominations for unequally represented boards and a Bevin ask a “dysfunctional” board to step down before he removes them.

“He (Robert King) said the legislators are drafting it (SB 107) word, for word, for word of what we’re doing,” CPE faculty representative Robert Staat said. Staat is a CPE member and representative for faculty members in Kentucky.

Senate Bill 107 defines a board is “dysfunctional” when it cannot reach a consensus to carry out primary functions, a provision Interim Provost Dale Billingsley called “a real problem” educational institutions’ boards.

Faculty took exception to rewording in the letter replacing “cause” to remove trustees with “misconduct.” Interpretation could allow the U of L board to terminate the president, officers, faculty, agents or other personnel for non-criminal offenses, such as incompetence, negligence and violating rules, to criminal offenses like misdemeanors and felonies.

“I don’t know why we want to make that a broader category,” Philosophy Chair David Owen said. Billingsley said there was an oversight on the scope rewording and administrators would discuss implications soon.

The endorsement goes to the faculty senate’s executive committee, who will write a letter endorsing the CPE letter and asking SB 107 expand the board to 17 appointed members.

Photo by Isaac Sanchez / The Louisville Cardinal