- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 14, 2017

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - The University of Louisville’s accreditation problems that landed it on probation haven’t appeared to worsen with a new law that led the governor to appoint a new set of university trustees, the school’s interim president said Tuesday.

Greg Postel, selected last month as top campus leader by UofL’s new governing board, is leading the school’s efforts to pull itself out of probation. He said his duties include making sure the school responds “in every way possible” to concerns from its accrediting body, which in December placed the school on probation for one year.

The accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, said Gov. Matt Bevin had interfered with the UofL board’s decisions and did not use a fair process to dismiss board members.

Bevin replaced the school’s governing board last year only to be blocked by a court order. Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear sued to block the Republican governor’s order. The case is pending before Kentucky’s Supreme Court.

Last month, the state’s Republican-led legislature pushed through a bill allowing Bevin to replace UofL’s board. Bevin used that new law to reappoint nine of the 10 people he appointed last summer.

Meanwhile, Senate President Robert Stivers has filed a bill to allow Bevin to replace any public university board that fails to meet certain requirements, including failing to hold regular meetings or reach consensus to carry out its primary function.

Postel was asked Tuesday if those measures had complicated UofL’s problems with its accrediting agency.

“We’ve had no feedback to suggest that anything that has happened so far has put the university in a worse position,” he told reporters. “There is no indication of that.”

The commission is expected to make a decision regarding the university’s accreditation in December. Losing accreditation could have many repercussions, including making UofL’s students ineligible for state or federal financial aid.

Postel said he’s had discussions with legislators regarding UofL’s accreditation issues. Those lawmakers are “keenly aware of the issues” and understand how critical it is for the university to resolve them, he said.

He also said the university will make accreditation-related documents available to the public.

Postel said he’s been told he might have to fill the interim president’s role up to 18 months as trustees begin looking for a permanent replacement to longtime UofL President James Ramsey, resigned last year.

He said he doesn’t intend to “actively campaign” for the permanent job but would consider it if approached by trustees.

Postel is juggling the interim presidency with his other job as UofL’s interim executive vice president for health affairs. Those dual roles, he said, means he has to be judicious in choosing priorities, spending time “on those things that are extremely important to both campuses.”

On other issues, Postel:

-Said the university will keep its promise not to increase student tuition next year, despite its tight budget.

-Said UofL will be “fully cooperative and participatory” in discussions about efforts to solidify the financial future of the KFC Yum! Center, where the school’s men’s and women’s basketball teams play.

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