Ky. Gov. Matt Bevin joins lawsuit against U of L's Board of Trus - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Ky. Gov. Matt Bevin joins lawsuit against U of L's Board of Trustees

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Gov. Matt Bevin Gov. Matt Bevin
University of Louisville Board of Trustees, Nov. 5, 2015 University of Louisville Board of Trustees, Nov. 5, 2015

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- A major twist, Monday, in a lawsuit filed against the University of Louisville.

The governor's office has now switched sides.

The case involves a lawsuit filed by the Justice Resource Center against U of L over the racial makeup of its Board of Trustees.

The Justice Resource Center claims that, by law, based on the city of Louisville's population, there should be more minorities on U of L's Board of Trustees.

Former Gov. Steve Beshear, who appointed the current board, sought to have the case dismissed.

But in a hearing Monday, Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate allowed new Gov. Matt Bevin to switch sides and join the suit against U of L.

Bevin agrees there should be at least three minorities on the board.

Right now there is an African American and a Cuban American.

“We think that there was simply a mistake made in appointments to the University of Louisville Board; maybe good faith misinterpretations of the statute, and we hope to get that resolved,” said Stephen Pitt, Gov. Bevin’s General Counsel.

But the case may be settled out of court.

Attorneys for Bevin and U of L met privately after the hearing; a meeting both sides call "productive."

“I think there's a potential. I don't know that we've got anything worked out yet,” said Walter Sales, one of the attorneys representing the Board of Trustees.

Further complicating matters are statements by U of L President James Ramsey agreeing with Bevin that the board should be more diverse.

“I don't know what our clients are going to say in response to that, or if they even have a disagreement with Pres. Ramsey. Just simply, we've got to meet with them and find out where they stand on the issues,” said Sales.

In the meantime, the Justice Resource Center says any business conducted by the trustees should be declared null and void.

“The three people that were the last three appointees should be removed from the board,” said Rev. Milton Seymore, director of the Justice Resource Center.

If they can't reach a deal, all sides will be back at the Franklin County Courthouse in a couple of weeks.

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