University of Louisville president "confident" accrediting agenc - WDRB 41 Louisville News

University of Louisville president "confident" accrediting agency will lift probation

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University of Louisville Acting President Neville Pinto University of Louisville Acting President Neville Pinto

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- University of Louisville Acting President Neville Pinto is "confident" that the university's accrediting agency will take the school off probation later this year.

Speaking to reporters Thursday at a meeting of the U of L Athletics Association, Pinto said a bill sponsored by Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers related to university boards appears "well aligned with the expectations" of the accrediting group, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

"I feel confident, based on my reading of it, that we will be in alignment with their policies and they will lift probation," said Pinto, who will leave U of L next month to become president of the University of Cincinnati. 

Pinto's comments offer the strongest reassurance yet that recent actions by the state legislature will help -- rather than hurt -- the university's status with the accrediting agency.

SACS placed U of L on probation last month in response to Gov. Matt Bevin's attempt to unilaterally replace the school's board of trustees through executive orders issued last summer.

The Republican-controlled legislature passed a bill earlier this month remaking the board in the same fashion that Bevin had attempted.

Stivers has said that action, coupled with a bill he has introduced clarifying the governor's power over university boards, should satisfy the accrediting agency.

SACS representatives have said they can't judge legislation before it's passed. But a SACS representative told a university official on Jan. 10 that Stivers' bill "does appear to be moving in the direction of clarifying the process" for removing and replacing trustees, according to an email obtained under the Kentucky Open Records Act.

SACS will send a team to visit to visit U of L in the fall before its board decides in December whether to lift the probation or extend it, Pinto said. Probation is the last step before a school loses its accreditation, and no institution can be on probation longer than two years. 

The new board of trustees which Bevin appointed on Tuesday will have its first meeting on Saturday and likely select an interim president, said Pinto, whose last day at U of L is Feb. 19.

Marcus Green contributed to this report. Copyright 2017 WDRB News.

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