September 16, 2016

SGA President to U of L Foundation: “Enough is enough”

SGA President Aaron Vance

SGA President Aaron Vance

By Aaron Vance —

On behalf of the student body, enough is enough. Students are worried. Donors are talking about pulling out. The trajectory of the university has been called into question. And most concerning, it seems like nothing has been done to remedy it by the University of Louisville Foundation board.

Let’s be honest, no one believes that a fire can be put out from inside the house and no one believes that the foundation board will be the first to prove that old adage wrong. Even if you could, it doesn’t seem that any effort has been put forward in remedying the many addressed issues in the past; nor does it seem like that commitment is forthcoming.

While I wasn’t on this board of trustees before Governor Matt Bevin’s intervention and its subsequent return, it was often considered divisive. The divisiveness isn’t gone, and it had taken a new form with one party fleeing the ring instead going back to its corner after the fight. Many have opted to sacrifice debate and refuse to face the challenges of leadership when something proves unpopular, paving the way for a free and unchecked reign over an organization where transparency doesn’t exist.

It seems that the interests of our university have been held hostage to the demands of an entity that works under the auspices of it but refuses to be held accountable by it. Students have every right to be concerned. I have to answer to 21,000 students through every action and across every single day, so why shouldn’t the foundation board do the same? An institution of higher education, specifically one that prides itself on facilitating and developing the critical thinking skills of its students, can’t just simply write off their questions and concerns when things don’t seem to be adding up. All of this further begs the question, is the foundation actually concerned with the student experience?

The outside community, the administration, the faculty, the staff and the student body have all spoken and all of us have demanded accountability. It’s not very often you will find us all on the same page, but when you do that alone should speak volumes to the magnitude of the situation.

Engage with the Board of Trustees. Take up their recommendations. They’re more than reasonable. Will it solve every problem? No, and there will be challenges in implementing them. Leadership changes are hard, but sometimes they are necessary. I can guarantee, however, that these recommendations put forward by the board will do more than any PR firm or internal action would do to restore the image of the Foundation. More importantly, they are the first steps to restoring trust in the Foundation.

Aaron Vance
Student Body President
Student Government Association

Photo courtesy / Student Government Association

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