Expert says Gov. Bevin has put U of L accreditation at risk - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Expert says Gov. Bevin has put U of L accreditation at risk

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Gov. Matt Bevin’s move to abolish the old University of Louisville board of trustees and create a new one has put the university’s accreditation at risk.

That’s the opinion of an expert witness who testified in Attorney General Andy Beshear’s lawsuit against Bevin. Beshear claims the governor overstepped his authority.

During a day-long hearing Thursday, Judge Phillip Shepherd heard testimony from Dr. Patricia Cormier, a former university president who has worked with the accrediting agency SACS.

Cormier says she agrees with a letter sent by the president of SACS to U of L, which said there's evidence the governor's actions have placed U of L out of compliance with SACS standards regarding undue political influence and the removal of leadership.

“Who does SACS say caused the out of compliance?” questioned Assistant Deputy Attorney General Mitchel Denham.

“The implication is, it was the governor,” responded Cormier.

“It was the apparent involvement of the governor,” Denham said.

“Yes,” responded Cormier.

Cormier was hired by the Attorney General’s office at a rate of $250 an hour.

Her testimony came only after the governor's counsel tried unsuccessfully to block her appearance. Bevin’s Attorney Steve Pitt says the accreditation issue has nothing to do with whether the governor has legal authority to revamp the board.

“We feel comfortable that we’ve got legal authority and that, ultimately, if we’re not successful in circuit court, that we stand a good chance in the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court,” Pitt told reporters after the hearing.

“I think you’ll see that there’s a lot more smoke here than fire,” Pitt said.

But Beshear says the accreditation issue is important to the case.

“It's time for the governor to realize that he caused maybe unforeseen consequences, and to roll back his executive order because there are some real issues here at stake. There's some real harm that may be done,” Beshear said.

Pitt also points out the whole case could be decided before SACS can take any action against U of L.

The next hearing is scheduled for October.

Related Stories:

Bevin's dismissal of trustees may affect University of Louisville's accreditation

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