U of L trustees postpone tuition vote amid student objections - WDRB 41 Louisville News

U of L trustees postpone tuition vote amid student objections

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U of L student Kate Hall, a senior majoring in political science, asked several questions of the Board of Trustees on Thursday, July 21, 2016. U of L student Kate Hall, a senior majoring in political science, asked several questions of the Board of Trustees on Thursday, July 21, 2016.
U of L President James Ramsey U of L President James Ramsey
U of L Board of Trustees Chair Pro-Tem Junior Bridgeman U of L Board of Trustees Chair Pro-Tem Junior Bridgeman

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  Gov. Matt Bevin’s newly reorganized U of L Board of Trustees declined to approve a 5 percent tuition increase for the next academic year at a meeting on Thursday that was interrupted several times by students.

The students challenged the board’s legitimacy and decried continual tuition increases that have left them and their parents struggling to pay for college.

Board of Trustees Chair Pro-Tem Junior Bridgeman said the board would withhold voting on the budget on Thursday and assemble a committee to take a “deeper dive” into the school’s budget.

U of L is proceeding with the proposed tuition increases under an interim “spending plan” that is identical to the proposed budget, according to U of L Budget Director Susan Howarth.

The trustees did not approve a budget for the year that began July 1 before Bevin dissolved the board and appointed a new one.

Earlier in the day, a judge in Frankfort heard arguments in a lawsuit brought by Attorney General Andy Beshear, which challenges Bevin’s authority to remake the board.

Judge Philip Shepherd did not rule Thursday on Beshear’s request for an injunction to stop Bevin’s board from moving forward.

Meanwhile, the timing of U of L President James Ramsey’s departure from the job was no clearer after Thursday’s meeting.

The trustees did not discuss Ramsey’s status in the closed-door portion of their meeting, Bridgeman told reporters.

Bridgeman – who last week gave conflicting statements about whether Ramsey had offered to step down – said Thursday that Ramsey has “resigned” and that the board would accept his resignation at its next meeting.

“That’s one of the next issues; the board is going to have to deal with that,” Bridgeman said.

The board is scheduled to meet on Aug. 16, though it can call special meetings with a day’s notice.

Ramsey declined to answer questions from reporters except to repeat that he had offered his resignation to the board last week and that his status as president of the U of L Foundation is still to be worked out.

“We’ll cross that bridge when I talk to the foundation,” Ramsey said.

Bridgeman regrets closing meeting for Ramsey discussion

Responding to a formal complaint from WDRB, U of L’s general counsel Leslie Strohm said in a letter this week that the board did not violate the state open meetings law when it reportedly discussed Ramsey’s status behind closed doors at its first meeting on July 13.

Her letter did not explain how the discussion was properly held in secret.

But asked about a potential open meetings violation, Bridgeman told reporters Thursday he “screwed up” last week and that he “should have known better.”

“We made a mistake, but we learned from it… My goal is… to be as transparent as we can, to give as much as information as we can,” Bridgeman said.

Copyright 2016 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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