LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Monday, a judge in Franklin County Circuit Court asked attorneys for Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear for more information he needs before deciding the lawsuit involving the University of Louisville Board of Trustees.
At the hearing designed to set a timeline for the case, Judge Phillip Shepherd said he would like more evidence or testimony about how a decision could impact the UofL accreditation process. The university is currently undergoing its accreditation which takes place every 10 years.
Both sides have asked that the case be expedited to avoid any negative impact on the University of Louisville.
Last month Judge Shepherd ordered that the original Board of Trustees be reinstated. The temporary ruling was to remove a newly reorganized Board of Trustees put in place by Governor Matt Bevin who argued that UofL needed a fresh start. Bevin also argued that the old Board was not legally constituted due to an imbalance in both political and racial diversity.
Monday, Judge Shepherd asked both sides to devise how they would bring new testimony or evidence forward to make their case regarding the accreditation issue then get back with him in the next day or two. But the attorney for Governor Bevin disagrees with the need.
“We do not think that this is an accreditation problem,” said Attorney Stephen Pitt. “But we understand the court's concerns and we will consider what pulling together, what information and witnesses, other evidence that the court may desire to hear on that point.”
Last week, in his first news conference since becoming "Acting President" at UofL, Doctor Neville Pinto admitted that there are governance questions during the process, but he felt that the current legal battle preventing the board of Trustees from meeting would not last so long that the accreditation is put at risk.
Also Monday in court, lawyers for the Attorney General's office suggested that Governor Bevin fill open seats on the re-instated board to bring it up to compliance. They argued that would allow it to act until the judge can rule on the totality of the case.
It's the same argument General Andy Beshear made to WHAS11 during an interview last week.
“As we stand here today,” said Attorney General Andy Beshear, “my understanding is that this governor has up to five appointments he could make on that board; two openings, two expired terms and one trustee that apparently doesn't want to serve again.”
“If the governor is concerned about any of those issues,” Beshear insisted, “he could appoint five new people and solve all of them.”
But the Governor's chief counsel insists there are only four openings and even that would not bring the board into compliance with racial or political diversity.
Attorney Pitt said, the reinstated board included 13 Democrats, one Republican and one Independent. He claims the political ratio alone would need to be 10-7 to meet state law.