Outside the U of L Board of Trustees meeting in Grawemeyer Hall, representatives of the African-American community staged a silent protest of Gov. Steve Beshear’s appointments to the Board.
Under Kentucky state law, the board must “reflect no less than proprotional representation of the minority racial composition of the commonwealth.”
The Board has had an African-American member since 1958, when Woodford Porter became a Trustee. This continued until Rev. Kevin Cosby left in June 2015.
“This board, as a reult of the decision of Gov. Steve Beshear, is the most segregated board since the 1970s,” said Rev. Clay Calloway of the West Louisville Minister’s Coalition in a press release. “The regression in efforts, makes Gov. Steve Beshear no different than George Wallace when he governed Alabama.”
Also under pressure is Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, who is allowed to issue a legal opinion on the matter.
Conway, in the middle of a gubenatorial race, has not acted on the issue, and the protesters said that they had not received a comment from the Attorney General’s office.
Conway’s office has stated that the matter is under review and assigned to an attorney in the office.
A representative from the William Warley Republican Center, which reaches out to African Americans, said that Kentuckians should consider this issue when going to the polls on election day.
One of the leaders, Milton Seymore of the Justice Resource Center, made clear that the issue was not with the Board itself, but with the Beshear and Conway.
“The Board is a victim,” said Calloway, echoing Seymore’s sentiments.
The protestors agreed that U of L has been successful in reaching out to minority communities.
“President Ramsey has shown support for the African American community and the West End,” said the statement from Calloway.