Ramsey won't say if he'll remain leader of University of Louisvi - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Ramsey won't say if he'll remain leader of University of Louisville Foundation

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University of Louisville President James Ramsey University of Louisville President James Ramsey

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  University of Louisville President James Ramsey declined multiple times Thursday to say whether he intends to remain as president of the school’s nonprofit foundation, even as a foundation board member publicly urged him to do so.

Ramsey has said he will resign or retire from his job at the university by the end of the next academic year, but his tenure as president of the school’s affiliated foundation remains unclear. He is under contract for both roles until 2020.

“It is a hypothetical. I don’t know when I’ll step down as university president. It could be in a week. It could be two months,” Ramsey told a swarm of reporters after a foundation meeting Thursday. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

The foundation, which manages the university’s $680 million endowment, provides the vast majority of Ramsey’s compensation. In 2014, it reported his total compensation from the nonprofit as $2.8 million on its IRS tax return.

During an earlier meeting Thursday, foundation director Salem George publicly urged Ramsey to stay on as foundation president “as long as he can.”

George said the foundation’s rules do not require that its president also be president of U of L.

“The foundation needs to secure a dome of protection over the university that will help minimize the impact of budget cuts from the state,” he said.  

Tuition to go up as first proposed

Meanwhile, university tuition for in-state undergraduates will go up 5 percent next year as Ramsey’s administration originally proposed, Ramsey told the foundation board Thursday.

Before Gov. Matt Bevin abolished the Board of Trustees last week, the university’s budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 – including the tuition increase – was unsettled.

In an unusual move, three members of the former Board of Trustees had refused to approve the proposed budget and instead told administrators to find ways to lessen the tuition hike.

But Ramsey said the university will proceed under the originally proposed budget in the absence of a full board.

The university “spending plan” – including the tuition increases – will be taken up by the new Board of Trustees Bevin plans to appoint soon – a board with 10 appointees instead of the 17 set by state law.

But if the board does not meet before July 1, the university will proceed with the spending plan and get “formal approval” from the new board after the fact, spokesman John Karman said.

The budget also includes a new “rebate” program whereby students who complete at least 30 hours of credits a year will get a credit toward future tuition equal to the amount of the proposed increase.

The credit has value only for students who continue to classes – including graduate school – at the university.

Ramsey said despite the uncertainties, it’s “business as usual” for the university.

Junior Bridgeman new foundation chairman

The foundation recently lost its board chairman, Robert Hughes, as a result of Bevin’s abolition of the university’s Board of Trustees.

On Thursday, the foundation’s Board of Directors installed longtime member Junior Bridgeman as chairman.

Bridgeman, a Louisville businessman and former professional basketball player, is also on the three-member temporary Board of Trustees that Bevin created by executive order.

He is also a former chairman of the Board of Trustees in the mid-2000s.

“The foundation board respects the leadership of the governor and we support what he’s doing,” Bridgeman told reporters after the meeting.

Asked whether Ramsey will remain at the helm of the foundation, Bridgeman said: “Those are all things that he will decide depending on how things unfold.”

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