Gov. Matt Bevin announced Friday that University of Louisville President James Ramsey is stepping down and that he is reorganizing the Board of Trustees.
Bevin said he is appointing an interim board that will serve for the next two weeks. Ramsey is willing to step down immediately, Bevin said, but he could remain as president for as long as two weeks.
Bevin said it has been evident that changes in the oversight at U of L has been needed for some time. He said his intent is to "give a fresh start" to the university.
The Council on Postsecondary Education will nominate new trustees for Bevin to consider for appointment. He said the new board will have 13 members, 10 of which he will appoint. He said he wants board members who look out for the university's best interests and understand their fiduciary responsibility.
Bevin said his action is motivated by academic concerns, not athletics.
As also noted, Bevin canned the entire U of L Board of Trustees to boot. Bevin's stated issue with Ramsey and the U of L Board is that there are "academic problems" with the university and Ramsey was at the heart of them: Men's basketball coach Rick Pitino's issues with obtaining "gifts" for students, possible embezzlement by the university's top health care official, and more.
The unofficial story of why Ramsey and the board had to go: they stood in the way of Bevin's across the board education austerity cuts.
"Tuition will go up. The question is how much," University of Louisville President James Ramsey said on Fox in the Morning on Friday. That's just one of the consequences he says continued state budget cuts will have on the university and its students.
"We've been through nine cuts in nine years," Ramsey says. The university has made plenty of big cuts in how it manages energy and buys health insurance, he says. Now it's looking for lots of little ways to save money. "It challenges our ability to move forward," he says.
Ramsey says underfunding education also has consequences for the state. "We do have an undereducated population," he says. Ramsey says more people need to get through high school and into college. A lack of educated workers, he says, holds back economic development in the state.
Ramsey also says the cuts hinder the university's ability to recruit the best faculty members and research teams. He points to U of L's James Graham Brown Cancer Center being granted a full three-year accreditation by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers. That accreditation is given to centers with the a high level of care and which rigorously review their performance. But such achievements take money to attract the top people, Ramsey says.
Ramsey was more than happy to lay the blame on Bevin. You see how Bevin responded. He wants state employees and educators terrified of his wrath. No wonder he continues to be one of the nation's least popular governors.