University leaders hold virtual forum with community Thursday, Jun 11 2020 

By Joseph Garcia —

University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi held a virtual forum with U of L Police Department Chief Gary Lewis and Criminal Justice Department Chair Cherie Dawson-Edwards on June 9 to answer community questions on the relationship between ULPD and the Louisville Metro Police Department.

Lewis began by explaining the current relationship ULPD has with LMPD and how it goes back to the 1970s.

“Following the Kent State incident, many universities felt it important to create and develop their own police force,” Lewis said. “Many may not know, but this organization started with a Louisville Metro retiree.”

Lewis said that when he arrived to U of L two years ago, ULPD had about 98% retired Louisville Metro police officers working for ULPD. “To date, we are at about 40%,” Lewis said.

Lewis said that ULPD is a state accredited police department with less than 50 sworn officers, about 30 security officers and travel escorts.

Bendapudi also explained there is no formal partnership agreement between the two police departments that U of L can divest from.

Dawson-Edwards told students: “We hear you.”

“I realize that people think that training and education as just a reform thing, not a divest, but I want to argue it’s both,” Dawson-Edwards said. “We have to do training and education, and we need to do it better. We need to hold the police accountable, we need to hold ourselves accountable for that education and training.”

Like Bendapudi said in her response to BSU, Dawson-Edwards has committed to doing equity audits for all criminal justice academic programs, including the police executive leadership development certificate.

“I want to make sure that we are infusing equity, inclusion, diversity, social justice, all types of things in our curriculum,” she said. “It is not enough for us to just teach people how to be police and not teach people what they should expect from the community in this society that we’re living in.”

She anticipates the Southern Police Institute, a 60-year old officer training program located and taught at U of L, will do the same. This could include more activities, training and education about these particular issues with current police officers.

During the Q&A portion of the forum, Bendapudi was asked why U of L could not do what the University of Minnesota did in choosing to dissociate from their local police department.

“The reality is that we are an urban campus as you’ve heard,” Bendapudi said. “Our streets and roads, and Louisville’s, are intertwined. So we definitely need to work together–that’s the concurrent and overlapping jurisdictions you’ve heard about.”

Dawson-Edwards further explained that what is coming out of Minnesota is because people have been researching and doing the work to understand the problems for a long time.

“They are primed for it,” Dawson-Edwards said. “They have a 150 year history document on performance review for their police called ‘Enough is Enough.'”

“You can’t just take one city’s or one university’s blueprint and lay it on top of ours without making sure that our stuff matches theirs,” Dawson-Edwards said.

Bendapudi ended the forum by reiterating the actions U of L is taking, including now doing background checks for any officer who works at university events.

“As mother and leader of higher education, who has always cared for her students, I am telling you that we are going to work together on this,” Bendapudi said. “There is so much to learn.  I catch myself all the time when I forget all the privileges I have and you as young people, you’re educating us.”

She then committed to an anti-racist agenda moving forward. Bendapudi said there will be more forums in the future to continue discussion on broad, difficult topics.

“Let’s not forget this moment, this is not performative. This is not just until the news cycle changes. It’s important,” Bendapudi said. “I will do my best and I give you my word. My job is to do the very best I can for you, and that’s what I intend to do.”

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal 

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President Bendapudi responds to U of L BSU’s letter Monday, Jun 8 2020 

By Joseph Garcia —

University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi responded to the Black Student Union’s demands that were released on May 31. In the letter addressed to BSU President Maliya Homer on June 3, Bendapudi addresses the student union’s demands, which included a severance between the U of L Police Department and Louisville Metro Police Department, and for U of L to rename its Overseers Honors House given the word “overseers” tie with slavery.

“I have pledged since I arrived at U of L to do my best always to celebrate diversity, foster equity, and strive for inclusion,” Bendapudi said in the letter. “I want to address each of these issues and explain how I intend to move forward.”

She explained that she spoke with Chief Diversity Officer Faye Jones, Chief of ULPD Gary Lewis and Criminal Justice Department Chair Cherie Dawson-Edwards for their perspectives on the issue of cutting ties with LMPD.

“Your request for us to immediately terminate our relationship with LMPD would not make our campus or its constituents safer, and it would be an insufficient answer to a very complex problem,” Bendapudi said.

Bendapudi said that its difficult to fully cut ties because of overlapping jurisdiction with U of L being in the middle of Louisville.

“We have an intricate relationship with LMPD that touches many parts of our campus and virtually all of our faculty, staff and students,” Bendapudi said. She said that U of L is home to the Southern Police Institute that provides training and courses taught by Criminal Justice faculty for officers.

“This is not to say there are not significant issues within the police force that must be addressed. This is true and they must, but our relationship with LMPD is necessary to the University for these reasons and more,” she said. “I believe the harder approach and the one we will commit to is evolving and molding our partnership with LMPD so it clearly reflects our commitment to Diversity and Inclusion, our Cardinal Principle.”

The commitments U of L is taking include: ensuring ULPD is the lead law enforcement agency when dealing with a member of the campus community, performing an equity audit on all criminal justice academic programs, reducing the need for external law enforcement support at athletic events, providing de-escalation and cultural sensitivity training for officers working university events or hired by ULPD, and leveraging the SPI as a catalyst for change.

“To reiterate, this is neither the beginning nor the end of the work we will do,” Bendapudi said. “We are actively assessing our partnerships and working to ensure they reflect the values of our institution and support the success of our students, faculty and staff.”

With regards to the Honors house, Bendapudi said that if U of L is committed to being an equitable anti-racist environment, then the term “overseers” should not be used at U of L.

“I take responsibility for this issue not being addressed earlier,” she said. “This sign has likely caused incalculable and unnecessary pain to many of our students, faculty and staff over the years. I am sorry that it was not addressed sooner, but it is done now.”

The word has been removed from the sign as a temporary fix. A new sign will replace the current one sometime before the start of the fall semester. Bendapudi said she also has a team removing all digital references of the term from U of L owned websites.

Bendapudi also said in her response, that moving forward she will require leaders to include more student representation on all change initiatives.

“Whether it is on the criminal justice academic programs equity audits, the development of officer training programs, or other measures that arise from our ongoing conversations, I will require our leaders to include student representation, particularly the Black Student Union, to ensure the approaches we take are informed by the lived experience of our most fundamental constituency,” Bendapudi said.

BSU Vice President Ni’Kerrion McDonald said that he doesn’t believe these decisions are enough, however.

“Coming out of the meeting with Dr. Bendapudi, the board and I felt as if they had already made up their mind regarding the predetermined ‘list of solutions,'” McDonald said. “We are obviously not satisfied with the outcome of our demands not being met. While the university takes gradual, but persistent action, we will continue to implement our own call to action.”

Maliya Homer, the BSU’s President, released a statement on June 6 informing the community of the actions U of L has taken. Alongside announcing the creation of the Breonna Taylor Memorial Scholarship, Homer called on the Louisville community to direct calls to Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s office urging him to cut funding from LMPD’s budget of $189 million, as reported in fiscal year 2018-2019.

“We need the community to make it so that a partnership with LMPD is no longer a crucial piece,” Homer said. “The revolution will not stop because the university cannot immediately divest from LMPD,” Homer said. “At the end of the day, the university is a business. Businesses aren’t going to lead the revolution–young people are.”

McDonald said the BSU plans to hold the university accountable to its commitments. “Without follow-through and results, these incremental steps are just not enough,” he said.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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Students are a light to follow in the pursuit for racial and social justice Friday, Jun 5 2020 

By Brandon Cooper–

As University of Louisville administration addresses the racial and social justice issues making headlines, it is critical that they do not forget their greatest resource: students. The administration should focus energy on giving the power to mend injustices to those already in the streets protesting for such.

Student Government Association President Sabrina Collins said “the path forward has to come from students.”

“Our generation has the solutions, it is now up to U of L and universities across the nation to really listen,” Collins said.

As the university moves forward, they must base their actions off of those that are organized, focused and led by students. U of L professor Jason Gainous spoke passionately about the need to emphasize students during conversations relating to racial and social justice issues.

“Our students are the future of our community,” Gainous said. He has attended local protests with his 14-year-old daughter – who was pepper-sprayed and shot at with rubber bullets by police. He said he has seen first-hand the kind of passion and energy young people have and has faith in their ability to lead us through this pursuit for equality.

As a professor of digital politics, Gainous encourages students to continue using social media and other online platforms to organize, seek assistance and share their stories.

Gainous described university actions as a ‘balancing act’ – given the university’s extensive community ties that could be hindered by abrupt action that is not given extensive thought and planning.

At the onset of protests in Louisville over a week ago, actions and voices were faint from the U of L’s administration.

In recent days, Dr. Bendapudi has joined other administrators from the community to speak out against racial injustices. In addition to the administration’s recent statements and public appearances in the community, U of L Health has just announced a nursing scholarship fund in honor of Breonna Taylor. Though both great starting points, real action, policies and innovation must be implemented to enhance equality at the University of Louisville.

Bendapudi’s commitment to a student-centered ‘revolution’ starting right here at U of L is very apparent in her rather consistent communication with university stakeholders. The intricacies of university actions concerning social justice issues further highlight the need for extraordinary student engagement and leadership. When the future leaders of our community and nation speak, it is the responsibility of those currently in such positions to listen and act.

Anthony Taylor, a senior communications major, said he wants to see U of L become much more proactive about social justice going forward, rather than consistently reactive. Taylor believes that U of L has the resources to be on the frontlines of prominent social justice issues that directly impact our communities.

Hanah Jo Thurmond, a recent U of L graduate and attendee of local Black Lives Matter protests, said that the university should reinforce and expand the platforms for people of color to speak out on campus.

How will we, as a Cardinal family, respond to the impacts of these long-endured inequalities?

A critical step moving forward for the university is the implementation of required courses about white privilege and racial diversity for both students and faculty. Such courses could easily be added to the Cardinal Core requirements or implemented as curriculum in the Cardinal Orientation program. For employees, such courses should be added to the current employee orientation practices for all staff and faculty.

We should acknowledge the progress we’ve made thus far while continuing to call for action to implement the changes needed for racial equality and social justice.

U of L’s strength as a research and higher education institute lies in our diversity. With a spotlight on our students, U of L can be a national leader for higher education institutes to follow when addressing issues of inequality.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal 

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Louisville-area university presidents pledge to do better for their African-American students Friday, Jun 5 2020 

By Eli Hughes–

Louisville-area university presidents co-signed a letter to their students and community members on June 3, addressing the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.

“We, as leaders of higher education institutions in greater Louisville and Kentuckiana, are aware both of the promise of higher education as a transformative force in society, and of the problematic history of these very institutions in perpetuating racial inequity,” the presidents said in the letter.

They went on to pledge to five actions that they could take as leaders of their institutions:

  1. “We pledge to educate ourselves and our own college and university communities to recognize and work against structural racism.
  2. We pledge to work together to improve access to higher education for our African-American and other students of color.
  3. We pledge to create pathways for African-American and other students of color to meaningful and high-demand jobs and careers and acknowledge the need for more Black professionals in healthcare and education and engineering and law as in many other spheres.
  4. We pledge to engage fully and meaningfully in the life of West Louisville.
  5. With our institutional privileges of knowledge, reach, resources, legacy, and more, we pledge to consistently demonstrate our commitment to the objective fact that Black Lives Matter.”

The eight university presidents that signed the letter were University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi, Bellarmine University President Susan Donovan, Ivy Tech President Travis Haire, Jefferson Community and Technical College President Ty Handy, Sullivan University President Jay Marr,  Spalding University President Tori McClure, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary President Alton Pollard III, and Indiana University President Ray Wallace.

The same day the letter was sent out, Bendapudi joined some of the other university leaders at a protest in downtown Louisville to stand in solidarity with the protesters.

Photo by Joseph Garcia // The Louisville Cardinal

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Louisville Basketball legend Wes Unseld dead at 74 Tuesday, Jun 2 2020 

By John McCarthy–

Wes Unseld, 74, passed away on May 2. Unseld was a former U of L basketball player and member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He was a sight to see on the basketball court displaying unrivaled skills at the collegiate level and excelling in the NBA as well. Unseld’s number, 31, is one of only four numbers to be retired in the history of U of L basketball.

Unseld grew up in Louisville and attended Seneca High School. He played all of his collegiate years for the University of Louisville. He still holds the single-game scoring record for U of L with 45 points.

“Wes is one of my all-time favorite players. He was a local player who had great success at U of L,” University of Louisville athletic director Vince Tyra said. Unseld is one of only five Louisville Cardinal basketball players to collect over 1,000 rebounds in their career.

Unseld goes down in U of L basketball history as the 11th highest scoring player and 2nd on the U of L all-time rebounding rankings. His record with the Cardinals throughout his career is an impressive 60-22. Following an unforgettable career at U of L, Unseld was the second player selected in the 1968 NBA Draft. He played 13 years in the NBA and became only the second player ever to be named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player. He was a five-time NBA All-Star and led the Bullets to an NBA title in 1978.

Unseld was welcomed into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988 and was selected among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996 in honor of the NBA’s 50th anniversary.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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Louisville basketball staff member arrested during protests Monday, Jun 1 2020 

By Cole Emery–

University of Louisville’s Director of Basketball Operations Kahil Fennel was one of more than 30 people arrested Saturday night during the Louisville protests over the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.

The police report for Fennell stated he violated the city’s curfew order. Mayor Greg Fischer’s executive order created a curfew for all citizens in Jefferson county, which began at 9 p.m. Fennell was officially booked at 8:58 p.m. local time.

Head coach Chris Mack said in a statement he was aware of the arrest.

“I stand by Kahil,” Mack said. “Who could watch George Floyd die on the street and not think ‘What in the hell is wrong with people?’ I just can’t comprehend that kind of treatment to anyone, it feels like our country is going backwards.”

Fennell’s arrest occurred during protests that have sparked up in cities throughout the country over the past week. Many of the protests are in response to the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African American who died while in police custody in Minneapolis. Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in March by three officers in Louisville, causing more protests in Louisville.

Fennell is going into his third season on the Cardinal staff after working as a junior varsity high school coach in 2014-15. Before coming to Louisville, he was an assistant at Portland State.

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Survey: U of L students concerned about potential return to campus next fall Thursday, May 28 2020 

By Joseph Garcia —

Earlier this month, University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi announced the university plans to return to in-person classes for the fall semester. But one Student Government Association survey is finding that more than half of the 214 responses received in the first two days of its launch are concerned with the potential return.

SGA posted a three question survey to its Twitter on May 16, allowing students to voice their concerns about a potential return. SGA’s Top 4 also posted the survey to their personal social media pages. The questions included in the survey were:

  1. What are your concerns about the fall semester?
  2. What resources do you need to be successful in the fall?
  3. Anything else you want us to know?

A response to any one of the questions would be considered a completed survey.

“Many of the responses expressed concerns about having to make an emergency, mid-semester transition in the fall (similar to the one we did in the spring),” SGA told the Cardinal. “A lot of the feedback expressed concerns about safety, social distancing on campus and safe access to University services.”

The student government cautioned that the survey was conducted over social media and is not a representative sample of the student body.

In an email sent May 18, Academic Vice President Ben Barberie provided College of Business professors with “a few notable early trends from the first question.”

54.39% of the responses included some concern about the safety of a return to campus. 19.30% showed concern about plans relating to online classes. 14.91% included some concern about money or expenses related to an in-person fall semester.

“University faculty, staff, administrators and students have been hard at work behind the scenes deliberating many different potential scenarios that could arise this fall,” SGA said. “Throughout the process, SGA has been careful to make sure student concerns are heard and that any approach to this fall is rooted in equity for all students.”

SGA’s survey is ongoing and will remain open throughout the coming weeks.

“We appreciate [student’s] feedback regarding finances, safety, academics, and extracurricular activities. SGA will continue to share these hopes and concerns with the University administration as we advocate for innovative solutions to a wide variety of student concerns,” SGA said.

Graphic by Alexis Simon // The Louisville Cardinal

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Obituary: Graduate student dies Saturday, May 2 2020 

Jonah Neal Liebman, of Louisville, Kentucky, died unexpectedly of unknown causes in his home on April 24, 2020. He was just 25 years old.

Jonah was born on the Fourth of July in 1994 in Louisville, Kentucky. He grew up in the Louisville area, attending Kentucky Country Day School through the ninth grade and graduating from Trinity High School in May 2012. He attended college at Washington University in St. Louis and was a member of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Earth Science, graduating in May 2016. In April of 2020, he earned a Master of Science in Applied Geography through the Department of Geography and Geosciences at the University of Louisville. His career ambition was to work as a geoscientist in the parks system.

Jonah was a dear friend to many in the community, having grown up in Louisville his whole life.

As a young child, he competed through the US Chess Federation and played on the national champion kindergarten team. He loved baseball and played from little league through high school, creating many enduring friendships with teammates, families and coaches in St. Matthews, Middletown and Lyndon. Jonah also played travel baseball with the Bats and Panthers and played varsity baseball with the KCD Bearcats and Trinity Shamrocks. He and his family attended The Temple and he became a Bar Mitzvah there.

Jonah is survived by his parents Curt (Amy) Liebman and Karla Guess (John Rademaker), his brother Jared, his sister Shayna, his grandparents Bobby and Betty Guess of Kuttawa, KY, and many loving aunts, uncles and close cousins. He is also survived by Ali Rost, the love of his life. They were looking forward to a bright future and many happy years together.

A memorial service will be held but is unscheduled at this time. Donations may be sent to Red River Gorge United (rrgunited).

Photo Courtesy of The Liebman Family

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Go off the beaten path and take a trip to these uncommon spots at UofL Sunday, Apr 26 2020 

By Maria Dinh —

There common places on campus that most students like to hang out such as Ekstrom Library, the Student Activities Center and the Belknap Academic Building. Here are some uncommon spots on campus to check out when out for a walk.

Texas Roadhouse Study Lounge – College of Business

Located in the basement of the College of Business, there is a study room that is furnished just like a Texas Roadhouse restaurant. No, this room does not serve bread rolls, but inside has a vending machine with a hot water dispenser so you can make some instant coffee and tea while studying. This lounge isn’t a place for socializing and the noise level is under a whisper.

Dwight Anderson Memorial Music Library – School of Music

To the right of the main doors in the School of Music is a small library full of beautiful indoor plants and an antique piano. Freshman Katherine Boyce has her own favorite quirk about the music library.

She said, “Probably the people, if that counts. People there tend to have more fun and be a bit noisier than in the other libraries. It’s hard to go a single hour without hearing someone there burst into song or start making some sort of music. It makes the atmosphere livelier and more fun than a lot of other places.”

School of Music Stairs – School of Music

In the daytime, these steps look like ordinary steps. On campus at night, color changing lights shine on the steps. The colorful lights are a good opportunity for taking photos to post on Instagram.

Schneider Hall Art Gallery – Schneider Hall

The Speed Art Museum isn’t the only gallery on campus. The Schneider Hall Art Gallery features student artwork from the Hite Art Institute. This is a small exhibit to go and escape. Everyone is welcome to view the art and doors open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Hite Art Institute Fountains – Schneider Hall

The perfect spot to be at on campus when the weather is nice is the fountain at Schneider Hall. This place is perfect to sit back and relax between classes or chat with a friend. 

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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Make this year’s dorm a home away from home Sunday, Apr 26 2020 

By Delaney Hildreth–

As the new semester comes closer, students who will be living on-campus for the year will start planning what they’ll take with them to their dorms in August. Campus Housing has a list of recommended items on their website, but to help newcomers to dorm living, here are some additional things that will make any dorm more inviting and functional.

  One of the most important aspects to prepare for is how much space in the dorm there is to work with, which only gets more complicated when adding a roommate to the mix.

“Dorm rooms don’t typically offer a lot of space, so you have to get creative to make room for all of your belongings,” BusinessInsider.com aptly said. The site offers solutions like plastic drawers to go under beds and over-the-door pocket organizers to maximize storage potential.

They also point out, “You don’t get much space in dorm rooms, so any multi-purpose items are great for capitalizing on what you actually do have.” They recommend items like desk lamps that include USB outlets or laundry hampers that have pockets for laundry supplies.

There are a lot of items that get left behind or overlooked in the hustle of moving in, but these are often the most crucial in dorm living.

Incoming sophomore Dayna Thomas experienced this when moving in last year. “I didn’t have a mattress topper for my bed at first. After a few weeks of sleeping on the dorm provided mattress, I quickly realized why everyone else had mattress toppers and then went and got one for myself,” Thomas said.

Things like trash cans, paper towels, power strips, and dishes are items typically taken for granted, but nonetheless important, especially in a dorm setting where students will spend a lot of their time.

Thomas also said, “One of the most critical things to keep in your dorm is snacks. When everything else on campus is closer and you just need something to get you by, having some snacks on hand in your dorm is a life saver!”

Finally, bring cozy, homey items like rugs, extra pillows, and wall decorations. Dorms are only equipped with the bare necessities, but transforming the room with a few decorative items are sure to turn any dorm into a cozy living space for the year.

These items, while not as functional as the other things mentioned here, are what will make dorm life much more comfortable and satisfactory to take the edge off living in a new location by making it feel more like home.

File photo//The Louisville Cardinal

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