Somehow we missed the groundbreaking for the $40 million expansion of the Swain Student Activities Center at the University of Louisville at the end of August. Quite an undertaking.
The expansion will provide students more than 112,000 square feet of additional or renovated dining, office, meeting and retail space. Including one of the first ever Amazon pickup stores.
According to the Courier-Journal, funding includes nearly $10 million in university bonds, with the rest of the funding from student activities fees private donations and some University contributions.
Many of us won’t be around 20 years from now when NCAA member institutions combine all of the men’s and women’s teams into gender neutral programs. Something we would not mind missing out on.
Unfortunately, with the way most college presidents seem to think these days, the elimination of “duplicative” or “redundant” programs could occur even sooner. So concerned about “inclusivity” they are.
The NCAA took the first steps in that direction Monday when it pulled seven championships from North Carolina this year, including men’s basketball tournament games, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s tennis, women’s lacrosse and women’s golf tournaments.
All because the state legislature passed a law this year that prevents cities from passing laws allowing individuals claiming to be transgender to use the restroom of their choice. Supporters of the state law were concerned that sexual deviants would take advantage of unlimited access.
On Wednesday, the Atlantic Coast Conference piled on, further punishing the state by removing eight ACC championship events, including the conference football title game, which was to be played at Bank of America Stadium on Dec. 3.
“The ACC Council of Presidents made it clear that the core values of this league are of the utmost importance, and the opposition to any form of discrimination is paramount,” said John Swofford, conference commissioner.
Kami Mueller, a spokesman for groups reacting to the NCAA action, said, “I genuinely look forward to the NCAA merging all men’s and women’s teams together as singular, unified, unisex teams. Under the NCAA’s logic, colleges should make cheerleaders and football players share bathrooms, showers and hotel rooms.”
She was roundly attacked by the progressive media, of course, arguing that the NCAA has “no intention of getting rid of women’s locker rooms or abolishing women’s sports.”
Not yet, maybe. Think of how much money the universities could save by combining the programs. And how big a political statement the college presidents could make by doing away with gender specific programs.
Rightly or wrongly, they may have already started down that road.
Great news that ESPN has selected the University of Louisville vs. Florida State football game on Saturday as the location for the enormously popular Game Day show. A milestone with significant recognition for the UofL football program.
UofL supporters, however, should hope that the current Board of Trustees doesn’t do anything to further exacerbate the friction that exists between different University factions. The potential for that to happen is very real.
The day before the game, the Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet with its counterpart from the UofL Foundation. The University board wants to conduct a forensic audit on the Foundation’s books and to fire Jim Ramsey from his Foundation post.
UofL Chairman Larry Benz last week described the Foundation, the University’s largest donor, as an “eyesore to the community,” citing a “culture of secrecy and lack of transparency” at the Foundation.
Benz also reflects the view of some Louisville real estate developers who have expressed competitive concerns about the Foundation’s development efforts, intended to offset the State cuts to the University’s budget.
“The Foundation at some point forgot its mission and instead got caught up in the allure of real estate to the detriment of the endowment and the university,” Benz said.
Not a coincidence that local developer and trustee Craig Greenberg, who has been a vocal critic of former President Jim Ramsey, was standing directly in back of Benz at the press briefing. Greenberg is a business partner to Steve Wilson, a developer and former trustee, who has also been critical, suggesting that the Foundation be folded into the University.
Exactly what Benz wants to accomplish at the Friday meeting is uncertain. What is obvious, however, is that emotions are running high on both sides, the University board and the Foundation.
“Our foundation has multiple subsidiaries, holding companies and single-purpose entities that make absolutely no sense,” Benz said. “So, forensic accounting expertise is needed to navigate this complex weave that the foundation has created over the last several years.”
Bob Hughes, who chairs the Foundation and is a University board member, hopes a lawsuit can be avoided. “I think reasonable people sitting around a table can come up with reasonable answers without the benefit of a lawsuit,” he said.
That appears to be a long shot, with some members of the University board apparently focused on just sending Ramsey packing, without any additional recognition, financial or otherwise, for his tenure at the University of Louisville.
Update: The scheduled meeting between the UofL and ULF boards has been cancelled.
Contrary to a Courier-Journal report, Jim Ramsey was not going to be cut loose from the University of Louisville Foundation at a specially-called meeting of the group’s Executive Committee on Monday. Nor was his assistant Kathleen Smith going to be fired.
The meeting, which was canceled, had been scheduled quickly over the weekend following a missive from the J. Graham Brown Foundation on Friday demanding an audit and warning that it could withhold donations from the ULF without more transparency.
“Actually the main purpose of the meeting was to issue a Request for Proposal for a full audit as soon as possible and get the process started,” said Hughes. “We have the utmost respect for the Brown Foundation and what it has done for UofL.”
Ramsey’s future was to be discussed, based on preliminary discussions between Bob Hughes, ULF Chairman; Larry Benz, Chairman of the “old” UofL board, and Craig Greenberg, another UofL board member. “We were going to debate accepting Jim Ramsey’s resignation but to be available as a resource until June 30 of next year,” said Hughes. “They indicated they were in agreement and thanked me for taking the initiative.”
Some good things occurred at the specially-called meeting of the “old” Board of Trustees of the University of Louisville on Thursday. The gut feeling from this observer, however, was that more than a little ill will was simmering beneath the surface.
The board approved a $548.3 million budget, which included a 5% tuition increase while allowing student who complete 30 hours of credit to receive a 5% credit to be applied to the following year’s tuition. As a concession to some board members, however, the budget included a freeze on tuition for the 2017-18 budget. A finance subcommittee had earlier rejected the proposed tuition increase in the current budget.
Acting President Neville Pinto reported that student enrollment at UofL will be approximately 21,500 for the fall semester. The figure includes 2,900 incoming freshmen with an ACT test score average of 25.5 and a cumulative high school grade point average of 3.6, with 465 of them qualifying for the honors program.
The meeting ended on a down note when Chairman Larry Benz reported that he has yet to obtain information about a $38 million loan from the University to the UofL Foundation without board approvals.
Jason Tomlinson, chief financial officer for the Foundation, has described the loan as a “receivable agreement,” benefitting both the University and the Foundation. Specifically, the loan was made to the UofL Real Estate Foundation, an arm of the Foundation.