Bevin, Justice Resource Center settle lawsuit over minority repr - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Bevin, Justice Resource Center settle lawsuit over minority representation on U of L Board of Trustees

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U of L Board of Trustees, Sept. 3, 2015 U of L Board of Trustees, Sept. 3, 2015

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The University of Louisville Board of Trustees and Gov. Matt Bevin have officially settled a lawsuit filed by the Kentucky Justice Resource Center last fall challenging the lack of minority representation on the U of L board.

The settlement follows recent resignations by two trustees to create openings for Bevin to appoint racial minorities to the board, which currently has only one minority appointee – Bill Summers, who is black.  

Under the March 18 settlement agreement, a copy of which was obtained by WDRB News, all parties agreed that at least three of the 17 U of L trustees who are appointed by the governor must be racial minorities.

They also agreed to use the U.S. government standards for race and ethnicity, under which Hispanics count as an ethnic – not racial -- group.

Bevin’s predecessor Steve Beshear and former Attorney General Jack Conway had argued that only two racial minorities were legally required on the U of L board and that Beshear appointee Paul Diaz, who is of Cuban descent, counted for one of the required minority seats.

The federal government recognizes the following racial groups: White; Black or African American; American Indian or Alaska Native; Asian; Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. People who identify their origin as Hispanic, Latino or Spanish may be of any race, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Bevin, who took office in December, reversed course and embraced the position of the Justice Resource Center.

Diaz, the former CEO of Kindred Healthcare, ended up resigning to free up a spot for a Bevin appointee - - though he took offense to the idea that Hispanics do not count as minorities for the U of L board.

Trustee Bob Rounsavall, who is white, agreed to resign last month only a few months before his term was set to end on June 30.

The March 18 settlement forbids the board from taking “any structural or other significant actions” before Bevin’s appointees are in place.

The Board of Trustees’ next meeting is scheduled April 20. The board is expected to take up a no-confidence motion in President James Ramsey, though the motion would by symbolic and not remove Ramsey.  

Asked whether the governor’s appointees will be in place by April 20, Bevin general counsel Steve Pitt said the timing “depends entirely” on when the governor’s postsecondary nominating commission submits the names of potential appointees to Bevin.

Ramsey, U of L board at odds over lawsuit

Gov. Matt Bevin: University of Louisville board needs more minority members

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