By Kyeland Jackson —
In their first meeting since Governor Matt Bevin’s executive order fired them June 17, the board of trustees passed U of L’s 2016-17 budget. The budget includes a five percent tuition hike, originally shot down by the board’s finance committee in May and tabled by Bevin’s board in July.
The increase is offset by a “Credit for Credits” program which refunds the five percent increase to students who complete at least 30 credit hours a year. The budget includes a two percent increase to housing rates, an increase to meal plan rates and a promise of no further tuition increases next year.
Board chair Larry Benz opposed the increase in May, and re-affirmed the board’s student-centered purpose Thursday.
“The university is not about the board of trustees, it’s not about the chair,” Benz said. “At the end of the day it really is about the students and the support.”
“As we move forward on a budget now that’s very student-centric, I just want you to know that that hard work that you all put in does not go in vain.”
The calm meeting made no direct mention of the controversy surrounding former President James Ramsey or Bevin. Ramsey left after Bevin’s 13-member board paid him $690,000 to resign in July. The original 17-member board was abolished by Bevin’s executive order. Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd reinstated it on July 29.
Ramsey announced he would like to stay with the U of L Foundation after he resigned. Benz alluded to Rasmey’s position on the foundation, saying the position for the university president would seem “unattractive” if the former president stays on the foundation board.
Foundation members have the right to remove the former U of L president, according to terms of his contract, and one board member has voiced his support for Ramsey. The next meeting where foundation directors may decide his fate has not been scheduled, but is usually in September.