Category Archives: News

The News page is your source for everything you need to know about university administration, the Student Government Association, health, housing and much more!

Man arrested on first day of classes

By Michelle Eigenheer–

A man arrested at the University of Louisville on Monday is being charged with driving under the influence, two counts of reckless disregard,  fleeing and evading, leaving the scene of an accident and driving without insurance, according to a report from the Courier-Journal.

Jason R. Tennant hit a car around 1p.m. on the first day of classes and left the scene of the accident. While attempting to flee down Brook Street, Tennant drove head-on toward an approaching police car before being apprehended.

news@louisvillcardinal.com

Illustration by Andy Carter

Shaking the Foundation: How the University of Louisville thrives during statewide budget cuts

President Ramsey

By James El-Mallakh–

Over the summer, the University of Louisville laid off 10 staff members as a way of reducing costs in the university’s budget, among other measures. The cost-cutting measures became necessary early this year when the state of Kentucky cut funding to higher education by 6.4 percent. This cut reduced U of L’s funding by approximately $9 million.

The University of Louisville Foundation is a non-profit organization that is separate but affiliated with U of L. It is part of the Foundation’s job to raise money for the university through soliciting and receiving donations.

The U of L Foundation, which granted Ramsey his pay raise and oversees the donations to the university, has played an increasingly important role at U of L. For the first time since U of L became a public school in 1970, the Foundation will provide more money to the University in the form of private donations than state funding will for fiscal year 2012-13. According to the University of Louisville website, the Foundation will provide $141.8 million in funding to the University, whereas the state will provide $141.1 million.

About 10 percent of money that the Foundation raises is in the form of unrestricted funds. These are donations or revenue that do not have to be used according to the wishes of a donor, but can be managed in whatever way the Foundation Board of Overseers see fit. It is from this pool of money that University of Louisville President James Ramsey was given a raise.

“There is maximum flexibility as how [the Foundation] can use those funds,” said Mike Curtin, the Vice President for Finance at U of L.

According to Curtin, the Foundation generally views these funds as a way of adding “margin of excellence items” to the university. It is for this reason that the Foundation Board of Overseers decided to give Ramsey a raise rather than have those funds used to curb the possibility of layoffs. President Ramsey is considered to be a valuable asset to the university due to the large increase in fundraising that he has helped oversee.

“We want to do things like endow professors and scholarship programs,” said Curtin. “We want to do stuff that kind of puts U of L out there by itself as a community leader and we want to put our dollars into areas that are high value, we don’t want to just replace state dollars. So that’s kind of been [the Foundation’s] philosophy for a long time.”

Since Ramsey became the President of U of L in 2002, fundraising for U of L has more than tripled from about $33 million in 2003 to $145 million in 2012. The increase in fundraising is credited to the university’s “Charting Our Course” initiative, a campaign to raise $1 billion by 2014, according to the University of Louisville’s website.

“During Dr. Ramsey’s tenure, our fundraising has gone through the roof,” said U of L Director of Communications and Marketing, Mark Hebert, in an email. “Who knows what kind of financial shape we’d be in right now if not for the job that Dr. Ramsey and his team have done.”

Despite the cut in state funding and the recent layoffs at U of L, Ramsey received a pay raise to his salary. The raise came as the university was expecting the 6.4 percent cut at the beginning of the year and it brought Ramsey’s annual pay up to $600,000 per year, along with the opportunity for bonuses that would total $3 million by the year 2020.

Bert Deutsch, the Vice Chairman for the University of Louisville Foundation, says that layoffs are “regrettable,” but says that Ramsey’s raise is appropriate compensation for the job he’s done.

“There are layoffs all around but that doesn’t mean you take the people who are still working and not pay them appropriately,” said Deutsch. “We want to make sure [Ramsey] is paid appropriately for what he does because we don’t want to lose him.”

However, this sentiment is not shared by everyone, “I think, to an extent, a pay raise is appropriate, but the amount needs to be limited,” said senior Jacob Faul, a student in the College of Education. “I think that considering the fact that he’s been here for a while and he’s done a relatively good job as president, a pay raise is acceptable in my mind. But I think the current circumstances need to get taken into account and the pay raise definitely doesn’t need to be as much.”

Illustration by Andy Carter

Although Ramsey receives part of his overall compensation from state funds, none of the pay raise that Ramsey received came from students’ tuition dollars or state funding. The money that pays for Ramsey’s raise comes exclusively from the University of Louisville Foundation, which means that Ramsey’s raise was funded by private donations.

President Ramsey, in a February interview with Ryan Alessi of CN2, said that he did not think that he should have received a pay increase during a time with high budget cuts. Ramsey says that his raise was decided by the U of L Board of Trustees and was out of his control, although the Board has withheld bonuses and raises for Ramsey at his own request in the past.

“So [the Board] said, ‘you’re going to take a pay raise and just smile about it,’” said Ramsey.

Ramsey also says that the numbers regarding his pay increase are misleading. “A lot of that compensation is tied to me staying until 2020, I won’t stay until 2020 and so a lot of those numbers don’t mean anything.”

Faculty and staff received an average of a three percent raise to their salaries in fiscal year 2011-12, though they had not received any pay raises in the three prior. Ramsey had also declined raises and bonuses during that time because faculty and staff were not receiving them.

According to Pat Arauz, the Executive Director of Financial Aid, no financial aid programs have been at risk of being cut due to declining state funding, “The administration has been very supportive of ensuring that students still have resources available to them.”

news@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo courtesy University of Louisville

Justin Brandt

Hail to the Chief: Where does the student body president stand on the issues that are important?

By Rae Hodge–

Justin Brandt, former intern to Senator Mitch McConnell and newly elected student body president, is responsible for bringing student voices to the influential governing bodies of the University of Louisville.

Brandt sits as an active member on the University of Louisville Board of Trustees “I think that’s my number one responsibility,” he says, “All the other board members are appointed by the governor but we serve a year in that position.”

The Louisville Cardinal recently sat down with Brandt for an interview and asked him to speak to some of the largest concerns of students, ranging from the privatization of university funding to his stance on the Chick-Fil-A debate.

PRIVATIZATION:

Q: For the first time since the University of Louisville became public in 1970, private funding has eclipsed public funding. How do you think this will impact the Student Government Association’s role, and their ability to effectively represent the interests and voices of students?

A: In some ways though it’s good because if the private investments weren’t there, not only would tuition be going up, but we would be losing services and faculty, and we wouldn’t be able to do things like the new recreation center. So, I wouldn’t say that those private investments are having any kind of bias or impact or influence on the university so much. I’m not afraid of that. I mean, it could get bad, but you have like Brown Forman donating and having the Brown Scholars Program. That’s an incredible opportunity, you know? A lot of students are travelling and have free tuition. I don’t think Brown Forman is using that to push any thing relevant.

I do think it’s sad that the private sector has had to step up so much because, like I said, we’re a public university; It seems a little backward. And also because in this state we spend more on corrections than we do higher education, and that raises a serious question about where the priority is because higher education should be viewed as an investment.

RISING TUITION:

Q: Tuition increases show no signs of slowing at the University of Louisville. For well over 10 years, tuition has increased substantially every year. With many students worried about the eventual collapse of the student loan market and the overall inability to afford college, what kinds of actions can the SGA take to voice these student concerns to the administration and defend the affordability of a degree?

A: I’d love to say that we can stand up and fight for this—and I will continue to fight for it when I can—but I have to be realistic about what I can and can’t do. As student body president at U of L, I will obviously be saying that the university has to stop this trend, but I’m only in this position for one year, so I have to temper that and look at some realistic expectations for what I can do.

The board did approve that raise in tuition, and I’m pretty sure that Kurtis [Frizzell, SGA President 2012] voted for it. At that point, once the state already makes that cut, the university is kind of forced to raise tuition because if they don’t, financially the university would just be in a terrible situation. So, the Provost asked all the departments to cut their budgets by three percent. If we didn’t raise tuition what the university would have to do to make up that cost would severely jeopardize the academics of the university, and then the services that can be provided to students.

Say the state makes cuts again, but at the University of Louisville we all say, ‘Yeah, there’s cuts but students can’t afford it anymore, and we’re not going to raise tuition.’ All that would do is we would have to start laying off faculty members, housing cost would probably go up, food costs, all the things that are now considered an important part of the university. They’d have to find savings elsewhere, to a point where I think it would be bad.

One thing we can do is advocate. If the university has this money to spend on things, how can that be brought to students? For example, last year President Ramsey gave an additional $200,000 to help with student programming. So the Student Activities Board allows for organizations to apply for travel funds, to throw events, and that’s some way. So, if we’re going to see a raise in tuition, more of that money should go back to students through student initiatives.

SALARIES:

Q: More frequently, students have been voicing concerns over the continual raises in pay that President Ramsey has received. There has also been public concern over the hiring of James Johnson, as chief of staff to the executive vice president for health affairs, starting at $220,000. What is your position on the issue, and in what way can you represent the interests of students on the matter?

A: In regards to his pay, the thing about President Ramsey is that he is generating more. Because of him being paid, he’s raising a lot of those private dollars and keeping the university kind of afloat. A lot of his time he’s mentioned that he’s travelling trying to fundraise, so he’s actually why.

Also, even though there’s a pay raise there (I know which consultant you’re talking about) in the big scheme of things that amount of money wouldn’t offset some of the state costs when you really look at the amount of money we would have kept if tuition where it was.

After tuition increase, what is that increase derivative? I don’t know if it’s quite 9 million but it’s quite a lot, and it’s hard to make up in other places, if that makes sense. Specifically, about the consultant the board has a good explanation for why they did that.

ONLINE COST

Q: Students have been asking for years: what possible reason could the University of Louisville have in charging additional money for online classes? With the tension created by tuition increases, the question now insists on an answer. Is it fair to charge more for online classes when there’s virtually no overhead? What can the SGA do to help students here?

A: I’ve asked a few people. One it’s to cover the initial cost of developing course but to me it doesn’t make sense that you have to pay additional money on top of tuition to take an online course, especially as we see in the national media about how schools like Harvard and MIT are starting to focus more on their online learning. We have to think, as a university, how we want to adapt to this moving forward.

I also know that a lot of the departments are using online course a lot. So they’re actually making profits from their online classes, which is good for them because it helps them with their budget shortfall, but it’s bad for students I think. One thing that I am going to look into and try to push for is that if the class is in your major, the charge should at least be reduced or ideally eliminated. For me, that’s hard because I’m going to have to convince departments to say no to something that’s making them a lot of money.

CHICK-FIL-A:

Q: Where do you stand on the Chick-Fil-A issue on campus?

A: When it came out, the Provost’s statement that they won’t be eating there anymore, I thought ‘That is a personal decision.’ Since then, the Provost has met with top leaders. I have talked with the Provost. She had a meeting with LGBT students which I was there for, and I understand where that group on campus is coming from.

I have to represent all students, but ultimately I believe that everyone has the freedom to expression. We’ve done some research and we found out that just because you’re on the mandatory meal plan, you do not necessarily contribute to Chick-Fil-A. You only contribute to Chick-Fil-A if you eat there, which I think is a good question to have answered. So now I think that students have every right to eat there or not eat there if that offended their personal beliefs. Ultimately, if we were to close Chick-Fil-A just because it offended people, that would be like the university playing the thought police, and we need to really respect the freedom of expression and the freedom of choice to eat there or not.

So I encourage students. If they were offended by that, don’t eat there and tell your friends not to eat there, and if Chick-Fil-A loses enough revenue, it will be gone. And I actually think that is a more powerful message than just to shut down Chick-Fil-A because then it will show that this is really not something you can be saying or advocating for.

But I also say that if students can say ‘I don’t really care what he said I just like Chick-Fil-A,’ I think that’s a decision that needs to be decided in the free market and through dialogue and free discussion. I think it’s hard to make a decision as a university because you’re going to have such a wide variety of views. And then where does that end? Should we not offer birth control at campus health because that offends religious groups?

news@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo courtesy John Turner

menatwork

A new face for the school year

By Caitlyn Crenshaw–

A mere glimpse through UofL’s campus and anyone will see the signs of a campus expanding its boundaries. Throughout the summer, construction has been working to complete a few projects before the start of classes and begin other long term projects.

Shannon Staten, Director of University Housing, said, “The construction started in the beginning of the summer, so the residents that are there now are only catching the tail end of it.” These students are experiencing few inconveniences and looking forward to the campus’ future.

Construction marks the majority of campus from the second phase of Cardinal Towne, to the Louisville Hall lobby and the north entrance of campus, to the College of Business. With the start of construction on the new student recreation center on 4th street, planned to open in the fall of 2013, students will soon have more construction to peer into the future of campus.

Staten said, “I think that when they see the end result they’ll realize it’s all worth it.” On move-in day campus construction had the potential to obstruct the flow of students; however, students were determined to integrate into the campus community.

In the midst of move-in day at Louisville Hall, it “was a little rough, but not impossible,” said Jake St. Germain, a sophomore nursing major.

St. Germain, who is an RA on the 3rd floor of Louisville Hall, said, “I think that making the campus look a lot nicer and making this lobby nicer will make students more likely to hang out here, even if they are commuters.” Building a campus community of students, professors and leaders through expanding campus boundaries will create the future of the university.

Shirley Willihnganz, executive vice president and university provost, said, “As our retention and graduation rates have grown, and our academic and research programs have expanded, we need the space.” As the university succeeds academically and financially in the current economic climate, the more construction will mark the campus.

“I’ve had parents say that they can barely recognize it,” said St. Germain of the changing campus scenery.

Larry Owesley, vice-president of business affairs, said of the every changing campus background, “We will continue to think beyond the boundaries of our campus. Physically and intellectually.” These physical boundaries are being pushed alongside with student’s intellectual boundaries.

The newly renovated north entrance to campus declares UofL’s presence and dedication to keeping up with the times. Also, the College of Business opened an addition with a ‘green’ roof costing $3.4 million and playing host to a rooftop full of plant life.

news@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo: Eric Voet/The Louisville Cardinal

bussss

6 new TARC routes that change the way you commute

By Tyler Mercer–

After being put into effect on August 12, 2012, several TARC routes have been changed, while a few have been eliminated entirely. These alterations were made to save money after hearing at public meetings during the months of April, May and June.

Shopping and Entertainment

I. #1 Fourth Street Trolley
Will now completely avoid Fourth Street Live; however, the TARC will stop a mere block away from Fourth Street Live, leaving it only walking distance away.

II. #29 Eastern Parkway east of Bardstown Road
This was initially being considered eliminated, but instead the route now has fewer stops east of Bardstown Rd. and will have minor time changes along other parts of the route. This means that students who use the TARC to get to their jobs in the St. Matthews area will have fewer stopping opportunities east of Bardstown Rd. Students will still have fairly easy access to all the entertainment on Bardstown Road. Remember to allow yourself some extra time to get to work while adjusting to this new schedule.

Work

III. #93 UPS Shuttle to U of L
IV. #99 UPS Shuttle to West Louisville
These will be rerouted to Crittenden Drive through Woodland Ave., Allmond Ave. or Strawberry Lane. Keep in mind that while the routes are being altered, the stop times for routes #93 and #99 will not change. Also, the TARC to East Point business center will be stopping fewer times and at altered times as well. Remember, once again, to allow a little extra time if you work around Middletown.

Downtown

V. #71 New Albany – Jeffersonville.
This route remains fairly unchanged aside from improved weekday service.

VI. #50x Dixie Express
Will begin to experience half as many stops as before. Anyone who works in or lives in Valley Station should notice that this bus route will now make only two trips to Valley Station Shopping Center and two trips to Park Place Mall.

news@louisvillecardinal.com
Illustration by Michelle Eigenheer/The Louisville Cardinal

michelleobama

Past and Present: Lack of exercise now as lethal as smoking in the u.s.

By Lee Cole–

“…We do know what the Greeks knew: that intelligence and skill can only function at the peak of their capacity when the body is healthy and strong; that hardy spirits and tough minds usually inhabit sound bodies. In this sense, physical fitness is the basis of all the activities of our society. And if our bodies grow soft and inactive, if we fail to encourage physical development and prowess, we will undermine our capacity for thought, for work and for the use of those skills vital to an expanding and complex America.” – John F. Kennedy, from “The Soft American”

 

Researchers at Lancet recently released a study indicating that lack of exercise kills as many people a year as smoking. In fact, the figures add up to about 5.3 million deaths every year from lack of exercise and its resultant health complications, including obesity and heart disease. In America, obesity has become a flagrant and troublesome national problem. According to the Center for Disease Control, childhood obesity rates have tripled since 1980 and are now at 17 % of children and adolescents between the ages of 2 and 19. More than one third of American adults are currently obese, resulting in 147 billion in medical costs.

Roots of America’s couch potato syndrome go back many years, however. President-elect Kennedy saw the danger in an under-exercised American populace as far back as 1960. While Michelle Obama’s efforts in these areas have been notable, including her “Let’s Move!” program aimed at childhood obesity, a retro approach, like the one proposed in Kennedy’s article for Sports Illustrated entitled “The Soft American” just may be what the doctor ordered.

Kennedy suggests a White House Committee on physical fitness and placing more of a burden on the education system to make physical exercise a key aspect of public education. While some time is allotted for physical exercise today, it’s simply not enough to make up for the lack of exercise and sedentary lifestyles of most kids.

Michelle Obama takes a hands-on approach to encouraging physical fitness for young people in her “Let’s Move” program.

One interesting suggestion made by President-Elect Kennedy is that we should establish a National Youth Fitness Congress which each state governor would attend to relate what his or her state was doing to combat obesity and lack of physical exercise.

We live in a time when government interference in any aspect of lives is especially distasteful. In the age of the Tea Party, using the government to influence change has been next to impossible. Getting far right Senators and Congressmen to agree to a physical fitness overhaul and a renewed government focus on health and exercise seems unlikely when congress is unable to act on even the most trivial and non-partisan issues.

Even if programs were introduced to encourage fitness, there is no guarantee that any one will participate. When kids have the choice of playing Spiderman in a videogame or playing him using their imagination on the playground, they will more than likely choose the videogame. Has technology made the imagination obsolete? Why imagine when you can see it with your own eyes, in vivid detail, right there on your television screen?

There has to be some extra factor, something that instills in children the desire to exercise. Perhaps something between recess and gym class should be offered to children from kindergarten through high school; a time in which students are given a myriad of choices for how to exercise, ranging from sports to Wii Fitness to weight lifting or even yoga. Not only will they feel better, they will think better. For America to be fit intellectually, we must be fit physically.

JFK gave us the prescription, as a nation, in 1960. We’d be wise to hold our noses and take the medicine.

opinion@louisvillecardinal.com

 

law-school-u-of-l

State of the University address date announced

By Rae Hodge–

The University of Louisville’s annual State of the University address will take place on September 12 at 2:30 p.m. in Comstock Hall.

The announcement was made by Dr. Tracy Eells, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, who also said that the full window of class cancellation is still to be announced, but that those occurring at 2:30 p.m. will be canceled.

editor@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo: Nathan Gardner/The Louisville Cardinal

Photo: Shelby Stafford/The Louisville Cardinal

Getting to class on time: TARC service changes coming your way

By Rae Hodge–

Starting August 1, Trans Authority of River City (TARC) will reduce service under a plan authorized June 25 by the TARC Board of Directors. Seven routes will be discontinued as part of the proposed cuts announced two months ago.

#74-Jeffersonville Park and Ride, #65x-Southern Indiana Express and #73x-Charlestown Road Express will all be discontinued as part of a restructuring of service in Indiana, although the overall amount of service is set to increase.

The other two routes that will be discontinued are #37x-Iroquois-Fairdale Express and #38x-Deering Road Express.

Four express routes originally proposed for elimination – #45-Okolona Express, #53X-Breckenridge Express, #54x-Manslick Express and #68x-Prospect Express – will continue operating without change.

Although  sections of those routes were to be eliminated in the proposal, routing will not change for the following four routes: #29-Eastern Parkway, #39-Middletown, #55-Westport Road, and #49x-Westport Road Express. Instead, services will be reduced.

Although steeper service cuts were originally proposed to help offset a projected deficit in the fiscal year that begins July 1, TARC says that they were able to avoid closing multiple routes, citing recent financial developments. TARC secured a contract to purchase diesel fuel at prices lower than estimated, resulting in significant savings. The bulk of TARC’s operating budget exceeded May estimates.

“TARC was able to make the best of bad circumstances but we are still cutting service at a time when we should be increasing service to meet a growing demand,” said J. Barry Barker, TARC executive director.

The cuts are estimated to save TARC $607,000 in operating costs in the next fiscal year. Fare increases previously approved to help offset the projected budget shortfall took effect on July 1.

A list of route and schedule changes is available in more detail at www.ridetarc.org.

 

Photo by Shelby Stafford, The Louisville Cardinal

House of Representatives

Students narrowly avoid additional debt: interest rates remain low

By Rae Hodge–

On Friday, Congress passed legislation preventing student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1. Rates on subsidized Stafford loans will remain at 3.4 percent for an additional year.

The $6 billion cost of keeping rates at 3.4 percent was fully paid for through a combination of pension fund reforms and by limiting Stafford loan eligibility to 6 years. Without the passage of the legislation, the interest rate hike would have resulted in an increase in $1,000 of debt for every year of school for more than 7.4 million low- and middle-income college students.

“Students already face unprecedented student loan debt and adding an additional $1,000 more would not only crunch individual borrowers, but would have further weighed down the recovering economy. We applaud Congress for coming together to pass this much-needed legislation,” said  Rich Williams, U.S.  Public Interest Research Group Higher Education Advocate.

The House of Representatives passed the legislation with a bi-partisan vote of 373-52, while the Senate passed the bill with a 74-19 vote. The student loan provisions were included in House Resolution 4348.

Graduate students are still expected lose their eligibility for subsidized Stafford loans under the Budget Control Act of 2011.

photo courtesy of House.gov

Photo courtesy of bridgeconsultinginc.com

U of L breaks ground on $31 million road project

 

By Rae Hodge–

On Monday, U of L officials dug their first shovelful of a $31 million property development on the Belknap campus. The project will includes a new road and two bridges which will provide access to a 39-acre area called Belknap Engineering and Applied Sciences Research Park.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet provided nearly $25 million in funding for the project, which will be available July 1.

The U of L Foundation, which provided over $6 million in funding, said they hope to start construction in the fall and complete it in 2014. U of L President James Ramsey said that the research park may take 15-20 to fully develop.

“This road project will ultimately lead to jobs and an expansion of research,” said Ramsey in a release from the university. “It will be like opening a door to a huge area on the Belknap Campus that is ripe with potential.”

“The Belknap Engineering and Applied Sciences Park is precisely the kind of project that will grow and develop innovative technology applications that will shape our future economy, and I’m looking forward to the positive impact it will make in the region,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “We are proud to invest in this project.”

Situated between the J. B. Speed School of Engineering on the north and Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium on the east, much the area U of L was formerly owned by Kentucky Trailer. The property was purchased by the University of Louisville Foundation in 2008.

Preliminary plans for the research park include providing additional facilities for the J.B Speed School of Engineering and offices for researchers. Private companies that want to build a partnership with the engineering school will also be provided with offices.

 


Photo courtesy of bridgeconsultinginc.com