Tag Archives: Ginny Washbish


Diploma retrieval proves difficult for international graduates

By Ginny Washbish–

Graduation day at the University of Louisville does not guarantee you a break from the stresses associated with gaining your undergraduate diploma. If you happen to be an international student, you may be boarding your flight back home without a diploma in hand. A Panamanian student, who graduated in May 2012, recently reached out to the Cardinal to share her story.

“When applying for our diploma, (the registrar’s office) told us they wouldn’t give it to us right away in the commencement ceremony, that they would send it to us approximately six to eight weeks after commencement,” said Laura Diaz. Filling out the application with her Panamanian address, Diaz was fully aware of the delay and expected a maximum wait of three months.

“In September 2012, I still hadn’t gotten my diploma,” said Diaz. However, after writing to the registrar’s office and requesting the diploma to be shipped to her courier address in Florida, the shipment came through shortly after.

Problems occurred when Diaz learned that when applying for a position or wishing to continue on with a master program outside her country, the diploma must have the correct apostille.

“I hadn’t heard of that in my life and no college counselor or international center advisor told me that,” she explained. “So, I lost my time trying to get my diploma to Panama, because it had to go through another process before getting here.”

The diploma had to be shipped back to Frankfort, Kentucky to be correctly notarized and valid for Diaz. This was a slow course as several Panamanian students were asking for the same process. Once all diplomas were notarized, they were sent in bulk to Panama’s Quality Leadership University.

“QLU told me to go pick it up in Jan. 2014. So basically I waited a year and eight months to get a useful diploma,” said Diaz.

Sharolyn Pepper, associate director of the office of international student and scholar services, explained that this was an isolated event. “In the 37 years I have been with U of L, a situation like this has never occurred,” said Pepper. Pepper explained that many international students participate in Optional Practical Training after graduation, where students remain in the states and have time to resolve any issues that may occur during the shipping process.

“The international center advises students in a memo to contact the registrar office in order to receive their diploma before they leave,” explained Pepper. This memo is one way the international center hopes to assist in the process by ensuring international students receive their diploma in a timely manner and with correct apostilles.

Pepper reassures international students that she will assist in any way possible when diplomas need to be validated. However, once the diploma is shipped to the Department of Education in Frankfort to be notarized, the International Center no longer has any control of the issue.

“(The International Center) email directors with the Panama University to make sure they too are advising their students properly,” said Pepper.

Photo by Kade Tambo / The Louisville Cardinal

Will the football offensive staff stay the same?

By Ginny Washbish–

Only the strong will survive. Clearly that statement doesn’t apply to the current football offensive staff at the University of Louisville. Looks like you can have an impeccable resume and still be replaced.

Since last Tuesday, the offensive graduate assistants have known their jobs could be up for grabs when Coach Petrino announces his coaching staff. All of our offensive graduate assistants have had a strong run: a Sugar bowl victory; a Russell athletic bowl victory against an ACC opponent, Miami; and maintaining a record of 23-3 for the past two seasons.

On Thursday, it was rumored that staff changes were already occurring, with the possibility of Garrick McGee becoming offensive coordinator. When asking Rocco Gasparro, Athletic Assoc in VPA-Football, about the possible changes, Gasparro said, “Coach Petrino has not officially hired any staff members. There will be an announcement once he makes his decision.”

Kenny Klein, Assoc Ath Dir in VPA-Support Services, could not be reached for comment.

With only a five day notice of possible termination, it’s hard not for the graduate assistants to express anger and disappointment. And with gossip circulating that Petrino is likely not welcoming the current offensive staff to his own, positive results are hard to imagine.


Riding and Racing Club help raise money for breast cancer

By: Ginny Washbish

If you stopped by the Red Barn last Thursday, you may have picked up some extra luck. Selling horseshoes, the Riding and Racing Club hosted a fundraiser for the organization Horses and Hope.

Horses and Hope sets out to raise awareness of breast cancer in the equestrian industry. Traveling to racetracks, clinics and stables, the non-profit organization provides education and screening treatments to female employees.

Horseshoes were sold for five dollars to paint and decorate. Megan Devine, president of the Riding and Racing Club, explained that once buying and decorating a horseshoe, visitors had the option to either keep the token or donate it back to the club. “We will take these horseshoes and give them to breast cancer patients as a symbol of good luck,” stated Devine.

According to Bailey Bianco, first-year member of the Riding and Racing Club, “The club hopes to make the fundraiser an annual event by partnering up with a sorority who shares in the common philanthropy.” By doing so, the club will plan to host the event every October.

Bianco, along with Devine, were found earlier riding their horses on the university’s grounds. “Riding our horses on campus is an eye catcher. It is easy to get lost in your day, so seeing our horses on campus is a fun change. Everyone points and smiles,” said Devine.

The event had a good turnout, raising more than $400. The club presented a check to Horses and Hope at Churchill Downs Sunday evening.

The Riding and Racing Club offers Hunt Seat, Western and Saddle Seat, along with the opportunity of networking within the equine industry. For more information contact Devine at mhdevi01@louisville.edu.

Photo Courtesy of Google Images


Physical Plant accused of unfairly firing employees

By: Ginny Washbish

Rumors surfaced last week that the University of Louisville’s Physical Plant department was unfairly terminating their employees to cut costs. It was suggested that several employees were replaced by temps or forced to part time, saving the department from having to provide full-time benefits.

According to Mark Hebert, director of media relations, these claims are not true. Hebert states, “There are fewer full time employees. This is the result of 22 employees retiring through the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program.”

As an outcome, Physical Plant now has a smaller workforce. Hebert explained that once employees retire through VSIP, those positions are frozen and are not to be replaced. This is a way the University can save money.

The department however, is currently in the works of filing paperwork through the provost office to replace some of the lost staff. According to Larry Detherage, associate vice president for facilities, “The department is trying to rehire for some of the 22 positions lost.” Not all positions will be filled.

For the past three years, Physical Plant went through the ‘Temp to Hire Process.’ When seeking custodial employees, the department would work with the staffing agency, ‘Ahead.’ According to Hebert, “If after 90 days, the employee was good, the department would hire on the individual as a full-time employee with all benefits.”

This year however, Physical Plant has developed its own pool of candidates. According to Tina Pierce, assistant director for Physical Plant Business Office, “Once all agency employees have finished their 90 days, the department will begin to seek custodian staff through its own system.” By not relying on the outside agency, Physical Plant’s budget will benefit greatly.

According to the University website, The Physical Plant Department “is a service organization whose function is to maintain the physical facilities of the University of Louisville.”


U of L IT department accused of baselessly firing employees

By: Ginny Washbish

The UofL IT Department looks to be battling a few troubling accusations made online. Last month, a post titled “Not all L1C4 at U of L. Rampant corruption in the IT Department,” was submitted to reddit.com.

The gist of the post is made in the first couple of lines, “The UL IT department has very quietly been finding reasons to terminate people for the last 3 years. All of these jobs are being outsourced overseas to a Managed Services group.”

The disgruntled author continues describing the work environment as a struggle between supervisors and employees. To terminate employees, several were given “30 days to learn a new language and write complex production programs.” If employees were unable to accomplish the task, they were let go. The post also suggests male discrimination, characterizing the director and overseer of all terminations as a “henchman of the VP of IT.”

According to Brenda Gombosky, an IT executive director, “The post was made to seem like a current disgruntled employee.”

Gombosky explained that the accusations made are totally incorrect. The IT Department was made aware of the post’s circulation and was advised not to publicly issue a response. “We get complaints daily. It’s freedom of speech. They have the right to say what they want,” stated Gombosky.

Some sources speculated what the author may have been alluding to a program issued by the University called Voluntary Separation Incentive Program. According to the VSIP website, “VSIP would provide eligible faculty and staff a financial incentive to separate from employment status.”

Gombosky explained that the termination process for an IT employee is more rigorous than in a corporate setting. She said, “It is a major and elaborate process thru HR and legal to terminate an employee.” She said that a director could not simply fire an individual based on them not learning a program language in 30 days.


To get more information on VSIP, visit their website at louisville.edu/hr/vsip/VSIP.

Choir changes membership requirements

By: Ginny Washbish


A choir that once changed the lives of young individuals has now changed the rules of becoming a member. In the past, members of the Black Diamond Choir (BDC) consisted of U of L students, alumni and students of local universities. Now members must be students at U of L.

Formed in 1969, the student ran gospel choir has performed concerts across Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Ohio and Maryland. Talent from all over would gather together with a shared interest in gospel music. Participation by non-U of L students gave this choir a unique flare.

Shantoya Richardson, former U of L student and past member of the BDC, said, “(The BDC) became a familiar place and a safe place. It was like an oxygen supply that I needed to survive, even after I had left U of L due to personal health reasons. I had grown so much; I was seeking God more than ever and when things got hard, BDC was my breath of fresh air. When the rules changed, someone took my vital necessity of life away; my air.”

It seems that unknown issues have occurred in the past with the BDC. Reports that a wish list submitted last semester by previous students encouraged the new membership restrictions.

Aleace Courtney was a member of the BDC for several semesters, often describing the choir as her “family.” Unfortunately, her dedication to the group will be disregarded due to the new restrictions; she is a senior at Spalding University.

“The focus of being an RSO will not fix issues that evolved during spring semester of 2013. If a change needs to take place it needs to be that leadership positions are picked by the student body. I think upper classmen should hold these titles, only because incoming students don’t know the history or foundation of how the BDC is ran. This fall semester (the BDC) is running on wicked intentions to gain the “I DID THIS AWARD,” said Courtney.

According to Tierney Bates, director of the Cultural Center, the membership requirements have always been in place. Bates states, “The BDC choir is a class and RSO…how are you allowed to do that if you’re not a U of L student?”

According to Bates, the BDC has never been open to non-U of L students.

Photo Courtesy of Google Images


West end problems continue with water main breaks

By: Ginny Washbish

If you are having a bad day, take comfort in the fact that you don’t reside in the west end of Louisville. But if by chance you are a resident of the Parkland area, then you have my condolences. From cisterns to small depressions; it seems that the very earth around us is crumbling…and then being washed away.

A water main break was reported last weekend in the Park DuValle area. While the Louisville Water Company didn’t consider the break to be that large, it definitely did not go unnoticed. Reporters from the Louisville Cardinal confirmed that the break caused a street closing. With Park DuValle being so close in location to Russell Lee Park, many wonder if there is a connection to the recent findings of sink holes and depressions.

According to Councilman Tom Owen the Park DuValle area was “cleared by the Urban Renewal and rebuilt in the 1950’s.”

Kelley Dearing Smith, strategic communications manager of the Louisville Water Company, believes the two are unlikely related.

“Water mains are located four to five feet in the ground, while cisterns are found 10-20 feet deep,” said Dearing Smith. Phillip DiBlasi, staff archaeologist of the University of Louisville, also believes there is no connection.

With the recent attention on the west end of Louisville, local governments are working hard to keep Parkland safe.

According to Ben Jackey, communications specialist of JCPS, trained professionals have surveyed the Kennedy Elementary schoolyard.

“Our facilities and maintenance crews have been out to the school (Kennedy Elementary) and found no sinkholes,” said Jackey. “They said they found some uneven, low areas in the ground that can be leveled with some dirt.”


Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Hold on to your horses: U of L has a Polo Club

By Ginny Washbish - 


“The University of Louisville has a polo club?” is the standard response when a student

learns that the Polo Club at U of L is currently a Recognized Student Organization.


The second question is normally “Polo? Like, water polo?” Meghan Ziobro, the polo

club’s vice president, says “I just grin and try to come up with something witty like, ‘I don’t

think our horses like to swim.’”


Founded in 2004 by Lauren Hexton, the club sport often goes unnoticed when competing

for attention against the other 300-plus RSOs U of L offers. Having only ten female members,

the team struggles constantly to keep the sport alive at the University.


“Members work so hard recruiting and fundraising and people still don’t have a clue we

exist,” Ziobro said.


According to club leadership, things are going to change this school year. Members of

the club have thought up creative ways to attract attention. “We understand that it is asking a lot

to have students drive all the way to God’s country just to ‘see what we are about,’” says Lauren

Poole, coach. “So, we will bring polo to the campus.”


Last fall, the polo club experimented by bringing two of their thoroughbred mares onto

campus. The club was featured on local TV station WHAS in the morning, and several students

were introduced to the unique RSO. This time around, the club plans on bringing the horses the

first week of classes around noon, making sure to get notice from students.


Recruitment is difficult; the sport may feel intimidating to learn, especially if not having

any previous riding experience. The club also has extra responsibility compared to the other

riding and racing clubs at the university: as they are currently caring for 5 horses, more money

and time must be devoted to the team.


“You may find yourself rethinking some life choices when shoveling manure at 22 on a

Friday night,” says Steph Franklin, string manager. “But it’s all worth it.”


The girls have worked together all summer graining their horses twice daily at

Hardscuffle in Prospect, Ky. When they aren’t picking pieces of hay out of their hair, the girls

are working as polo grooms and assisting with beginners clinics.


“We are all here because we share the same interest in horses. We don’t have time

to bicker and argue over things irrelevant to the sport,” says Brittany Schaefer, second year



The team considers themselves accepting of anyone interested in learning about polo,

saying that they are willing to work with newbies one-on-one. “Many of our most loyal players

are those that came in with no riding experience and simply just fell in love with polo,” says Schaefer


Regulated under the United States Polo Association, the collegiate team must adhere to

different guidelines to stay active. During the school season, the club travels to various schools

like UK and MSU, to participate in tournaments. Piling into each other’s vehicles the team

will stay weekends in hotels out of state, playing a match every day. They meet many people

involved with the sport, giving the U of L club plenty of networking opportunities.


“It’s like you step into a whole different world, you didn’t know existed. Polo has a huge

following outside of the University,” says Poole. The city’s local team, the Louisville Outdoor

Club, has been more than generous to the club this past year. From donating horses, offering

affordable board, and participating in the fundraising match, the Louisville Outdoor Club has

gone above and beyond to keep the RSO successful.


The polo club will be hosting a fundraiser match at the Masonic Homes of Louisville

the last week of September, date pending. It will be marketed as a “tailgating event” to U of

L students. Last fall, the team held the match at Hardscuffle and raised over $3,000 by selling

shirts, auctioning gift baskets, and taking donations. Students have the opportunity to meet each

member on the team while enjoying an exciting match.


With several girls about to graduate, the club’s main priority is to find others interested

in learning more about the sport. For more information on the Polo Club at U of L, visit their

Facebook page or stop by the Equine Business Office on campus.