By Chris Acree–
There has been a feud erupting within the highest levels of the state government over the past several months. More highly charged than any U of L-UK game we’ve ever seen. A political battle that makes Clinton v. Trump look like…oh, who am I kidding? Nothing’s worse than that.
Our esteemed governor Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear, son of Bevin’s predecessor Steve Beshear, are locked in a war of allegations, investigations and litigation. Why should we be concerned you ask? Because U of L is caught in the middle of the ongoing crossfire. The rivalry between Bevin and Beshear has been going on for so long it’s unclear who even struck the first blow.
The University of Louisville’s first involvement in this conflict was this past spring regarding Bevin’s call for all of the state universities to cut their budget by over four percent. The ink was barely dry on that edict before the attorney general took him to court on the grounds that the governor didn’t have the authority to do such a thing. A Franklin Circuit Court Judge ruled in Bevin’s favor, but Beshear took it all the way to the Kentucky Supreme Court, with arguments heard on August 18.
Though it can be argued this cut hurt the school significantly, it was only a scratch compared to Bevin’s next move. He was never a fan of the board of trustees under former president James Ramsey, and claimed that it lacked the constitutionally mandated amount of minority members. Bevin disbanded the whole board and put in one of his own, calling on President Ramsey to resign.
Beshear—you guessed it—sued to stop that decision. Another ruling by the Franklin Circuit Court put a halt to the adaptation of the new board and in return the old board is stuck in limbo. Bevin has told the new board not to worry and start doing board stuff. Simply put, U of L technically has two boards and no board at the same time. That’s reassuring.
This is all just a drop in a larger bucket of water regarding the relationship between Bevin and Beshear. Bevin even took it as far as removing Jane Beshear’s—Andy’s mother—name from the Capitol Education Center in Frankfort, which she made private donations toward, and kicked her off the Kentucky Horse Park Commission. Add all of this up and you have an attorney general who’s ready to sue the governor over using too many squares of toilet paper and a governor who’s not afraid to start throwing said toilet paper around, clean or soiled.
In the short-run, all of these shenanigans won’t affect the average U of L student a terrible deal, and all this talk about legal boards and illegal boards makes students bored. All this situation really does is keep the school featured in another batch of less-than-rosy headlines, along with the presidential toss up and the longly awaited drop of the NCAA hammer. In the long-run, not having a working BOT can drastically affect things ranging from budgets and tuition rates to the university’s accreditation.
So the question is do Bevin and Beshear really have the best interests of U of L at heart? No, no they don’t. This spat reaches new levels of pettiness every day, further eroding confidence in not only both politicians, but state government in general. Perhaps at one point they wanted what’s best for the university, but now any dispute involving U of L is just another chance to get one over on the other guy.
Bevin and Beshear should work together to ensure that the university can operate as effectively as possible, regardless of what the courts may ultimately rule. In this age of hyper-partisanship, they could be a shining example of government actually working for the betterment of the people and the community. Until then, it’d be nice for the both of them to keep our name out of their mouths. Football season’s about to start.