- Associated Press - Thursday, August 4, 2016

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - The University of Louisville’s acting president says the school can function well despite turmoil that has left the makeup of the board of trustees in question.

Neville Pinto, who had been interim provost for about a year, replaced longtime president James Ramsey when Ramsey resigned on July 27. He took questions from the media Thursday morning as the school prepares to welcome students back to fall classes later this month.

Pinto is acting as president as questions remain about the university’s board of trustees, which was reorganized by Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin in June. Bevin sought Ramsey’s resignation and selected an entirely new board, saying the old board was dysfunctional.

Last week, a judge temporarily halted the action by Bevin, leaving a question of which board is in power.

Pinto said Thursday he has been in contact with the chairmen of the old board and the new board appointed by Bevin. Pinto said his opinion on which board is valid “doesn’t matter.”

“My understanding I think is what most people understand of this, there is a difference of opinion on the composition of the board and how we should move forward, that is in our legal system and the legal system decides that,” Pinto said.

Pinto says he has not spoken to Bevin since becoming acting president.

Pinto said the board of trustees’ role is to focus on policy while the administration handles the daily operations of the university.

“We can function well at this point and deliver on our mission,” he said. Pinto said all of the members of both boards “want this university to operate without any obstacles, and to me that’s empowering for what I need to do.”

Bevin said Wednesday in a statement that the old board was invalid and warned them not to attempt to meet.

“A meeting of an illegally constituted board would only further tarnish the reputation of this outstanding university,” Bevin said.

Pinto said Thursday that the old board had attempted to meet this week but could not form a quorum.

The court case arose from a lawsuit from Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear, who argued that the Republican governor’s order was illegal because of a state law that declares board members at public universities can only be removed for misconduct.

Bevin argued he did not remove board members, but reorganized the board under another state law that he says gives him authority to make government more efficient.

Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd’s ruling temporarily blocked Bevin’s reorganization order until the lawsuit is resolved.

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