A judge has ruled that Gov. Matt Bevin cannot unilaterally reorganize a public university’s board of trustees and dismiss all of its members, calling it an “unprecedented assertion of executive power.”
In June, Bevin issued an executive order abolishing the University of Louisville’s board of trustees, citing dysfunction on the board. He later created a new board and appointed all new members. Attorney General Andy Beshear sued Bevin over the move.
Though state law allows governors to unilaterally reorganize state boards, the power had never been applied to a public university board.
On Wednesday, Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd ruled that the governor can’t remove public university board members without cause.
“Governors, who have not been shy about asserting executive powers, have dealt with these situations by requesting (and obtaining) resignations of board members, or have allowed the disputes to be settled through the normal administrative and judicial processes,” Shepherd wrote in his opinion. “No prior Governor has ever attempted to invoke the re-organization power…to address problems in the governance of public universities.”