By Chris Acree —
Oh, Governor Matt Bevin. I’m writing this on the absolute zero chance you might be reading. But then, someone out there might be. Is it a coincidence that the two recent defeats you’ve suffered at the hands of the Franklin Circuit Court, both for your ordered collegiate budget cuts and that whole board of trustees fiasco, occurred shortly after I wrote about them in this very publication? Yeah, probably.
Those losses must have stung something fierce – almost as bad as that Clemson loss the other week. In fact, you might be tempted to jump on Twitter and start blaming people, just like you blamed the referees after the game. I mean, late night tweeting has never gone wrong for anybody, right? Just look at one of our presidential candidates.
After your recent rulings, you may be wondering what to do next. I know I would. There’s always more legal action, either at the Kentucky Court of Appeals or even the Supreme Court. I wonder how’s that been working for you so far? I can’t help but think the better option is to fulfill your constitutional duty and fix the board already.
Even before you tried to kick all the original trustees to the curb, five out of the 20 seats needed filling. To this day, those positions still stand empty after all that ruckus you caused, and even after the courts ruled that you couldn’t axe down the entire board outright, it’s still your responsibility to fill the empty spots.
Unfortunately for you, you can’t just put anyone in there either. Kentucky’s Constitution requires boards of state schools to have a certain number of Republican and Democratic members, as well as racial minorities.
Let’s not act like you don’t have a list of candidates already. We all know you got the 20 people from that new board you tried to put in waiting on the back-burner. So what’s with the hesitation?
In addition to looking bad for the state and the postsecondary education community as a whole, this all could have more long-lasting implications for the university. A school without a fully-functioning board doesn’t look good to accreditation agencies. I know you don’t think accreditation is a big deal with this board issue, as your lawyers argued during the hearings.
But as Attorney General Andy Beshear and his expert witnesses contended, and the court ultimately agreed with, this matter could indeed affect accreditation which might royally screw U of L over if not addressed.
We know you don’t necessarily have the highest respect for some of the aspects of higher education, (when you came out strongly against those dastardly non-existent French Literature majors last semester), but a messed up board doesn’t just affect liberal arts, but could hit everybody if not taken care of.
So stop messing around and give us some respectable trustees, Governor. If you truly care about the University of Louisville and its students, faculty and staff, you’d do your job already and fill the vacancies.