August 25, 2015

Board Of Trustees lacks racial diversity required by state law


By Nick Amon

As the upcoming fall semester approaches, many things are astray around campus as students return from their elongated summer break. As many are focused on last minute class adjustments and book purchasing, this leads to a great unawareness of internal issues surrounding U of L’s own Board of Trustees.

The Board consists of 20 members, 17 of whom are appointed by Governor Steve Beshear himself. The only problem is, out of the 17 board members who are appointed by Beshear, there is not one single racial minority.

As a university that prides itself on diversity and equal opportunity across campus, this issue seems odd to be taking place in the state’s most urbanized and populated city.

Now although there is a non-appointed African-American student representative, along with a recently appointed Paul Diaz who identifies as a Cuban-American on the board, many feel as if this representation doesn’t adequately hold the means to represent minority concerns.

In response to this matter, the community in Louisville is starting to raise eyebrows, especially when the Justice Resource Center and the West Louisville Ministers Coalition told KYCIR that Diaz is not a “racial minority,” but instead a “ethnic minority.”

While attending a university that’s coined on the phrase, “embracing diversity, it’s happening here,” a student’s only justified reaction to this situation is to laugh. The only thing that’s really happening here at the moment is the lack of acknowledgment when it comes to racial misrepresentation on the Board of Trustees.

Legislation in Kentucky requires that every university board include a proportional representation of the state’s racial minorities.  For U of L this means that at least three out of the 17 appointed members by Beshear should be and represent racial minorities. The university is obviously not meeting this requirement.

Other universities across the state meet their requirements of proportional racial minority representation, some of them including, but not limited to, the University of Kentucky, Western Kentucky University, and Eastern Kentucky University.

According to the Kentucky Commission of Human Rights, 46.1 percent of African-Americans throughout Kentucky live in Jefferson County, giving U of L the largest pool of racial diversity to draw from in the state. This not only amplifies the fact that we should be leading by example in terms of racial progression, but also makes this situation flat out embarrassing, considering out of all the neighboring major universities we’re the only one not in compliance with state law on this matter.

At a time where racial issues and tension are at such a high prevalence throughout our nation, it’s become nothing short of a bad look for the university and Beshear to back racial misrepresentation.

Ordinance with state law isn’t the only thing that should be of concern for U of L at the moment, but the mistake here that tarnishes the Board of Trustees and the university’s reputation should be just as much of concern as well.

It’s unfortunate that where U of L had an opportunity to set such an astounding precedent to stand for diversity and progression, things took a turn for the worse. We as a university have taken three steps back in the process.


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