HBCU DIGEST: Bill proposes removal of Kentucky State Board of Regents

KSU calls on Kentucky lawmakers to pay $23 million debt to stay open

A proposed bill in the Kentucky State Senate suggests that the state’s flagship historically Black institution requires the emergency removal of its full board of regents by the end of the month.

In an interview with Kentucky Today, Senate President Pro Tem and bill sponsor David Givens said that the university was in need of drastic changes.

“This is the first step in the process. The issue is vital to the state and to our postsecondary portfolio of opportunities for students. We must get it right, and this is where we have chosen to start.”

He said the timeline is tight so that the Senate has the opportunity to confirm the appointments while lawmakers are still in session.

“We need a complete turnaround at that institution,” Givens said. “And this is a big part of that turnaround process. Overhaul is the goal.”

Senate Bill 265 classifies the board’s current membership as “failing to function,” and if passed, would compel Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear to remove the board’s eight members and to replace them by April 1.

The General Assembly finds and declares that the Kentucky State University board of regents has a current membership that has a history of failing to function and is no longer functioning according to its statutory mandate. The General Assembly further finds and declares that, notwithstanding the requirements of KRS 63.080, the members of the Kentucky State University board of regents appointed by the Governor as of the effective date of this Act, including members not yet confirmed by the Senate, shall be replaced by the Governor with new appointees consistent with KRS

Notwithstanding KRS 164.005(5) and KRS 12.070(3), the Governor’s Postsecondary Education Nominating Committee shall submit 16 nominations by March 26, 2022, from which the Governor shall select eight gubernatorial appointments to the Kentucky State University board of regents as described in KRS 164.321. Current Kentucky State University board members may be considered by the committee for nomination.

The board’s standing quarterly meeting, scheduled for March 3, was canceled this morning without explanation. The university faces mounting questions regarding the state of its finances and the accountability and transparency of the board regarding its spending and personnel actions.

Education News Flash
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Two years ago, the University of Kentucky faced a $70 million budget shortfall, which school leaders attributed to enrollment declines and increased operational costs. Around the same time, the University of Louisville projected that it would be $39 million in the red for similar reasons…
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