U of L board can't take up Ramsey vote until Bevin fills vacanci - WDRB 41 Louisville News

U of L board can't take up Ramsey vote until Bevin fills vacancies

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U of L President James Ramsey U of L President James Ramsey
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Gov. Matt Bevin must first fill two open seats on the University of Louisville Board of Trustees before the board can take up a proposed vote of “no confidence” in the leadership of President James Ramsey, according to the terms of a settlement reached last month in a lawsuit challenging the board’s lack of minority representation.

Before the March 18 settlement was signed, a group of eight trustees led by Ramsey ally Robert Hughes ensured that the agreement would preclude a “no confidence” vote until Bevin’s appointees are in place, according to emails obtained by WDRB News.

The board had been expected to take up the no confidence vote – which was first proposed March 1 – at its next meeting scheduled April 20.

In fact, U of L’s faculty and student senates have been polling their constituencies for input as to how their representative trustees should vote.

But it’s unclear whether Bevin’s appointments will come in time for the April 20 meeting. Steve Pitt, the governor’s general counsel, has said it "depends entirely” on when the governor’s postsecondary nominating commission gets a list of candidates to him.

Trustees Chairman Larry Benz – echoing comments he made to Insider Louisville Friday – told WDRB that there will be no April 20 meeting if Bevin’s appointees are not named by that date.

Benz said the board’s executive committee might meet for “perfunctory” tasks like conferring degrees. But he noted that the board now has one minority member – two shy of its obligation under the law.

“If we make any decision on anything, we are at risk at for a lawsuit,” he said.

Still, the trustee group led by Hughes felt it necessary to get that in writing.

In a move showing how divided the board has become, the Hughes group directed the university to hire a separate lawyer to represent them in the lawsuit over the board’s minority representation.

In a series of emails March 9 and 10, the Hughes group’s attorney Rebecca Jennings secured commitments from Bevin’s general counsel and from the attorney representing Benz and the other trustees that the no-confidence vote would be precluded until Bevin’s appointees are in place.

“That’s my explanation to the Gov and his understanding of the intent,” Pitt wrote on March 9.

The emails are below:

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