Beshear: New University of Louisville board should not make 'imp - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Beshear: New University of Louisville board should not make 'important or long-term decisions' until case resolved

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Andy Beshear, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear, Kentucky Attorney General
The University of Louisville's Belknap campus The University of Louisville's Belknap campus

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The newly reconstituted University of Louisville Board of Trustees – which holds its first meeting Wednesday afternoon – should avoid making “important or long-term decisions” until the court fight over the board’s legitimacy is resolved, according to Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear.

But Gov. Matt Bevin’s top lawyer said the board should have no reservations about performing the full scope of its duties beginning today.

“We are confident that the board is legally constituted and look forward to their meeting and functioning as a unified, cohesive board should,” Bevin general counsel Steve Pitt said in an email. “…(A)ny action they may take will be legal and binding under settled judicial precedent in Kentucky and elsewhere.”

In a case pending in Franklin Circuit Court, Beshear is challenging Bevin’s abolition of the former 20-member U of L board, which Bevin replaced with a 13-member board that includes 10 of his own appointees.

Now, even as Bevin’s reappointed board meets later today, a judge could issue an injunction as soon as next week that would stop Bevin’s reorganization of the board in its tracks.

Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd has asked both sides for legal briefs regarding Beshear’s request for an injunction, and the next hearing in the case is July 21.

At a hearing on July 6, Shepherd encouraged Bevin and Beshear’s offices to try to work out an agreement as to how the university would be governed while the case is pending.

While not explicit, Shepherd seemed to suggest that Bevin and Beshear come up with an interim governing board made up of both Bevin appointees and some members of the previous board that Bevin abolished.

“I could certainly see there might be an ability to negotiate an interim agreement making these vital decisions that would include representatives of both sides — both the old board or the new board,” Shepherd said, according to court video obtained by WDRB News.

But there is no indication that the two sides are working on any deal as Shepherd suggested.

Pitt did not respond to a question about whether the governor’s office has had conversations with Beshear’s office about an interim agreement.

“The Attorney General’s Office proposed several potential plans in court last week about how the board could function until the circuit court rules,” Beshear said in a statement through his spokesman. “Apparently the governor is unwilling to work with us on any of those options.” 

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