University of Louisville

Judge Temporarily Blocks Removal Of Confederate Monument

May 2, 2016
Jacob Ryan, WFPL

A judge has temporarily barred the city of Louisville from removing a 70-foot-tall Confederate monument from the University of Louisville campus.

Jefferson Circuit Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman signed a restraining order Monday morning forbidding the city from moving the 121-year-old obelisk honoring Kentuckians who died fighting for the Confederacy in the Civil War.

Mayor Greg Fischer and University President James Ramsey announced Friday that they would remove the monument, marking the latest government to reconsider its display of Confederate symbols following the massacre of nine black churchgoers in South Carolina last summer.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans and Everett Corley, a Republican running for Congress, filed for the restraining order on Monday. The judge scheduled a hearing for Thursday morning.

Confederate Statue At U of L To Be Removed

Apr 29, 2016
Jacob Ryan, WFPL

Mayor Greg Fischer and University of Louisville President James Ramsey announced Friday the Confederate statue on U of L’s Belknap campus will be removed.

Ramsey, via Twitter, said the monument would be removed immediately. “It is time for U of L to step forward in partnership with the city of Louisville to remove the monument…in respect of all people.”

Ramsey said a campus diversity committee recommended the university remove the statue.

The removal of the Confederate monument will also be the first tangible action for reworking the Third Street corridor near the entrance to the recently opened Speed Art Museum, Ramsey said.

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

The dean of the University of Louisville’s School of Public Health & Information Sciences is joining other university deans in urging the federal government to rethink its approach to fighting cancer.

The federal Cancer Moonshot Task Force was launched earlier this year with $1 billion to develop new ways to detect and treat cancer. But in a letter sent earlier this week to task force leader Vice President Joe Biden, U of L Dean Craig Blakely and 71 other deans said they were concerned the approach misses the mark.

“We urge you to pay careful attention to the balance between treatment and prevention-related investments,” the letter said.

Blakely said he supports the federal government investing in cancer research, but the initiative is missing a meaningful contribution to prevention.

WFPL News

Top officials at the University of Louisville are denying a news report that President James Ramsey is considering retiring from the university.

Citing unnamed sources, WHAS-11 anchor Doug Proffitt reported Tuesday night that Ramsey held a private meeting at his home with a small group of trustees last weekend, at which he discussed a “roadmap” to retire. Proffitt’s story came after Kentucky Sports Radio host Matt Jones reported something similar on his radio show.

Kathleen Smith, Ramsey’s chief of staff and perhaps his closest ally at U of L, said in an email to WFPL News on Wednesday morning that Proffitt’s story is “totally false.”

Reached Wednesday afternoon, U of L Foundation board chair Dr. Robert Hughes echoed Smith, saying the report is “absolutely false.”

University of Louisville

Less than a day after a member of the University of Louisville’s investigative committee looking into allegations of prostitution within the men’s basketball program spoke out against the school’s decision to self-impose a postseason ban, the university is attempting to clarify the committee’s role.

It is the first time any U of L official has spoken publicly about details of the committee, despite inquiries from WFPL and other media for more information.

The statement from U of L also comes after men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino last week told a national ESPN radio show that Athletic Director Tom Jurich made the decision to keep the team out of the Atlantic Coast Conference and NCAA tournaments this season. The school had previously said it was U of L President James Ramsey’s call, and reiterated that in a statement today.

U of L Professor Ricky Jones, chair of the Pan-African Studies Department and a member of the investigative committee, told The Courier-Journal on Monday that he disagreed with the decision to self-impose a ban.

“There was nothing we saw that implicated anyone but Andre McGee,” Jones told the C-J.

University of Louisville

Gov. Matt Bevin on Thursday withdrew a motion from former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear that would have dismissed a lawsuit accusing Beshear of breaking state law when he did not appoint a single African-American to the University of Louisville’s Board of Trustees last year.

Bevin filed pleadings Thursday with the Franklin Circuit Court “expressing his agreement” with the group that filed the lawsuit, according to his office.

Last summer, the West Louisville-based Justice Resource Center asked then-Attorney General Jack Conway to weigh in on whether U of L was out of compliance with the racial minority requirement state law, which requires the board to have a proportional representation of minorities.

Activists said Conway ducked the issue when he released an opinion requiring that Beshear appoint at least one racial minority to the board. The governor appoints 17 of the 20 U of L trustees; by appointing one African-American, Beshear would have brought the total to two.

J. Tyler Franklin/WFPL News)

Two members of the University of Louisville’s Board of Trustees publicly withdrew their support for U of L President James Ramsey during the board’s regular meeting today.

In September, all 20 trustees signed a letter affirming their support for Ramsey as the state auditor’s office began an investigation into the relationship between the school and its $1.1 billion nonprofit foundation. Ramsey is the head of both entities, and he is a voting member of the foundation’s board of directors.

Alluding to the numerous scandals that have emerged at the university over the past few months, trustee Steve Campbell interjected early in the meeting to announce he was withdrawing his support for Ramsey.

“Ever since [September], there have been material issues with the university. I’m not going to list them, you all are aware of them,” said Campbell, an adviser at financial firm Lazard Freres & Co. “And as a result, I feel that the circumstances have changed. I am happy to stand alone, and I do so with all due respect.”

Orchestra Kentucky

Orchestra Kentucky Music Director Jeffrey Reed has been named one of this year’s 12 University of Louisville Alumni Fellows.  

Reed co-founded Orchestra Kentucky in Bowling Green in 2000. He was recognized by the University of Louisville especially for growing audiences by combining classical and popular music unified by a theme.  

“We started with a traditional all classical program and found that although the public supported it, the numbers were very modest," said Reed. "And I kind of morphed into the present approach.”

That present approach has included concerts featuring the music of  Elvis Presley, Kenny Rogers and Paul Williams.

“We’ve presented an Elvis concert. Of course, Elvis used orchestra in his recording, so it was a perfect concert for that," Reed said. "We just had Kenny Rogers here and Paul Williams, the Oscar winning songwriter. We have Michael W. Smith coming, the Christian artist. So we present many headliners with the orchestra, as well.” 

In honor of being chosen a University of Louisville Alumni Fellow, Reed will present a lecture to music students and receive his award at a banquet at the university.

The orchestra’s Oct. 16 concert is a Sci Fi Spectacular, with music from 2001: A Space Odyssey,  Star Wars, E.T. and Star Trek.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Aaron Vowels

A week after announcing the receipt of $6.3 million from the foundations of businessmen “Papa” John Schnatter and Charles Koch, the University of Louisville has released the underlying seven-year agreements.

The two documents affirm that the new John H. Schnatter Center for Free Enterprise will be created by Dec. 1. It also states that the money will be spent on two tenure-track professorships, two visiting professors, center staff and expenses, up to five research grants, up to four doctoral fellowships, and classes, seminars and annual lectures.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Aaron Vowels

John Schnatter’s long-running, multi-generational ties to the University of Louisville just grew $4.64 million deeper.

In a press conference Tuesday afternoon at the university’s College of Business, President James Ramsey confirmed a $6.3 million, seven-year grant that will fund the establishment, staffing and operation of the new John H. Schnatter Center for Free Enterprise. Scheduled to open in the fall, the center will “engage in teaching and research that explores the role of free enterprise and entrepreneurship in advancing society.”

The source of Schnatter’s wealth, the publicly owned Papa John’s International pizza chain, is already emblazoned across the UofL campus. Through gifts exceeding $20 million, the company and John and Annette Schnatter have helped build Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium for football and Cardinal Park for mens’ and womens’ sports.

“We’ve been fairly successful in business at Papa John’s and we want to share that with entrepreneurs and teach these kids how to be successful,” he said. “If we can get just one or two kids from the $6 million, it will be money well spent.” Their share of the gift is equal to the cost of 515,555 small pepperoni pizzas at Papa John’s.

The $4.64 million from Schnatter’s family foundation will be boosted by $1.66 million from the Charles Koch Foundation.The $6.3 million will go toward two tenure-track and two visiting professors, up to five research grants and up to four doctoral fellowships, as well as classes, a speaker series, seminars and salaries for center staff.

Free enterprises centers funded by the Charles Koch Foundation at George Mason University, Florida State University, the University of Kansas and other U.S. colleges have ignited controversy in their collision with dominant liberal arts cultures. Opponents have objected to contracts that give the Koch Foundation authority over hiring and curricula.

The University of Louisville’s music school and athletics department will share a $12.6 million gift from retired pilot and investor Max Baumgardner of Louisville.

The $6.3 million donation to the School of Music is the largest planned gift in its 82-year history, the university said Tuesday in a news release.

The money will be used to create the Max Baumgardner Endowed Fund for Excellence in Jazz Studies.

Michael Tracy, head of U of L’s jazz program, said the funds will support faculty positions, scholarships and other programs, including studies abroad.

Declines in state appropriations and negative financial trends have made American universities rely more on alumni and wealthy benefactors for cash donations.

The University of Louisville

One of Kentucky’s most well-known cancer treatment centers is receiving a multi-million dollar grant to find new treatments and vaccines.

The James Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville announced Friday that they have been given a three-year, $5.5 million dollar grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

The Center’s director, Doctor Donald Miller, says the grant will help continue a partnership between U of L and Owensboro Health that is exploring the use of plant-based pharmaceuticals and vaccines.

“We have two vaccines--one for cervical cancer, one for colon cancer that are ready to move forward  into early phase clinical trials, and this grant will primarily support the testing of those vaccines over the next three years,” Dr. Miller said.

The grant will also seek to further develop plant-based drugs that would allow a higher concentration of anti-cancer drugs to be delivered to tumors.

The presidents of Kentucky’s two largest universities have joined opposition to a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

The American Studies Association passed a controversial resolution last month that rejects Israel’s policies against Palestine and calls on members to boycott the country’s colleges and universities.

That’s drawn a sharp response from U.S. college presidents and education groups who oppose any such ban.

Last week, University of Louisville President James Ramsey said any boycott could hinder academic collaboration and prevent positive outcomes, like cures for new diseases.

This week, University of Kentucky President Eli Capiluto joined Ramsey and nearly 200 other college presidents, saying campuses should by a place for civil discourse and dialog.

“I think the opportunity to foster those discussions on a campus should be something that is precious," the UK president said.

ESPN is reporting that WKU football coach Bobby Petrino interviewed Tuesday for the head coaching vacancy at the University of Louisville.

Petrino, who previously coached at U of L and led the Cardinals to a BCS bowl game victory, recently concluded his first season at WKU.

The Louisville spot opened up when head coach Charlie Strong left the Cards for the head coaching job at the University of Texas.

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