By Kyeland Jackson–
The chair of the U of Board of Trustees and one other trustee could lose their job soon if governor Matt Bevin gets his way. Bevin announced Thursday he will enforce racial balance on U of L’s Board of Trustees. The governor has asked a Franklin County Circuit Court judge to vacate the June 2015 appointments by former governor Steve Beshear so Bevin can replace them with minority members.
Chairman Benz and Larry Hayes may both be removed from the board once the court rules.
Kentucky state law requires at least three racial minorities on the board whose ethnicity reflect state demographics. During the political race last year, Bevin criticized democratic opponent Jack Conway for his inaction in regards to balancing the board.
The incident preceded increasing racial tensions on the U of L campus after President James Ramsey’s sombrero photo prompted community backlash. Ramsey himself responded to the governor’s comments, pledging the board’s cooperation.
“We respect the law and believe this board should be in full compliance with all aspects of the statutes governing its composition. It has been out of balance for far too long,” he said.
Bevin’s action to remove board members comes at a time when the university sifts through gathering amounts of criticism and scandal.
A motion to remove Ramsey as president of the U of L Foundation are being circulated, and may be put into hearing and action by as soon as March. Ramsey opposes the idea, claiming such action would cause irreversible financial damage to the university.
Two board of trustees members withdrew their names from a letter of support towards the president from September.
“The circumstances have changed,” board treasurer Steve Campbell said as he and fellow board member, Craig Greenberg, withdrew their names.