Campus responds to Breonna Taylor charges Wednesday, Sep 23 2020 

By Joseph Garcia — 

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced a Jefferson County Grand Jury would charge only one officer, former LMPD detective Brett Hankison, with wanton endangerment in the case of Breonna Taylor’s murder.

University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi called the announcement “a reminder that we must recommit to pursuing racial justice and pushing for changes in law enforcement, our legal system, public policy and our educational curricula.”

Taylor was killed March 13 when three LMPD officers entered her home with a “no-knock” warrant. When the police came through the door, Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired a one round at police after asking who was there and receiving no response. The officers returned more than two dozen shots. Taylor’s death certificate says she was shot five times, however today, Cameron said she was actually struck six times.

Hankison is the only one of the three officers indicted. He is charged with three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment for firing into neighbor’s apartments, not for the death of Taylor.

A wanton endangerment charge is a class D felony, it comes with a penalty of one to five years.

“While I am pleased that the grand jury has acknowledged the unlawful actions of this police officer and that he will be tried for the unnecessary violence he caused that night,” Bendapudi told students, faculty and staff.  “I am disappointed that our justice system allows these atrocities to occur all too often with relatively little consequence.”

Bendapudi said the attorney general’s announcement does not change the fact that Taylor was killed in her home.

“It does not fix a system that allowed that to happen,” she said, citing a Harvard study which found that Black people are three times more likely on average than white people to be killed during a police interaction.

U of L’s Student Government Association Top 4 said they too are disappointed that Taylor will “not receive the justice she so deserved.”

“For many of our students, waiting for this announcement has been an incredibly emotional time,” SGA said in a statement on social media. “These results will be very difficult to handle, especially for our Black students.”

The university is offering resources for students, faculty and staff to heal during this time.

Faculty and staff may use the Employee Assistance Program to receive counseling services. While U of L’s Counseling Center is offering virtual and personal counseling sessions for students, which SGA said is free to students as part of the $50 insurance fee billed at the start of the year.

“As long as you have not voided this fee on ULink, your visit to the Counseling Center will be covered,” they said.

Some professors have already begun listening to what their student’s are feeling and have canceled their classes.

“I want to respond to the needs of my students,” Siobhan Smith-Jones said after cancelling her 4 o’clock Mass Communications course.

Smith-Jones said she would have continued with class had the students wanted to, pushing down her own feelings of hurt.

“Because I am hurt, I know many of my students are too,” she said. “They are also confused, disappointed and disgusted. They want to protest or protect themselves and their families.”

“I’m here to help, not hinder,” Smith-Jones said.

She also added that the ramifications of this decision will impact Louisville, and therefore U of L, for years to come.

“Our students will have a hand in making the changes needed to our socio-political systems,” she said. “They have a perspective that no one else has; this is their city.”

“So in that,” she said. “Canceling class is a small thing.”

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L apologizes for vague RAVE alert Friday, Sep 11 2020 

By Eli Hughes–

A vague RAVE alert sent campus-wide at 2:19 a.m. Sept. 10 potentially endangered students and resulted in an almost immediate apology.

The alert said: “A black male wearing a red hoodie ran from Clark County Indiana Police and is possibly on campus. If you see someone matching this description- call ULPD or LMPD.”

Faculty and students said the vague description was potentially dangerous to black students on campus.

Three U of L officials released statements the morning after the alert went out to apologize for the incident.

“This morning a RAVE Alert went out asking our campus to be on the lookout for a Black male in a red hoodie, ” President Neeli Bendapudi said in her statement. “That is not an anti-racist statement. While the description may have been true, it is too vague to be of any help and it perpetuates negative stereotypes (especially on a campus whose colors are red and black and whose student population is proudly more than 12% Black) that make some members of our campus community targets. There is no excuse for that.”

Bendapudi apologized to those who were negatively affected by the alert and promise that the university would do better in the future.

ULPD Chief Gary Lewis took responsibility for the mistake and said the alert was unapproved and did not fit the criteria for a RAVE alert.

“The lack of oversight in approval of the message, the tone and the ambiguous wording all potentially contributed to making some individuals on our campus that already suffer from the trauma of racial stereotyping less safe and not more,” Lewis said. “Further, our policy is to use RAVE Alerts for law enforcement updates only when there is either 1) a serious crime, or 2) an immediate threat to our campus. This situation did not meet either criteria.”

Dr. Kaila Story, a professor of Women and Gender Studies and Pan African Studies at U of L, posted her frustration to Facebook.

“These vague RAVE alerts have always put marginalized groups on our campus at risk. BIPOC faculty, students and staff on our campus already have to navigate racialized and gendered microaggressions in almost every space on our yard, and when alerts like these come through our phones and emails they inevitably invite more scrutiny and harm to these already vulnerable groups,” Story said.

“It wasn’t just Black male bodies that were put at risk, it was also Black bodies that registered to onlookers as masculine, non-binary and/or masculine as well,” Story said. “So many folks were put at risk.”

One student who was hurt and disappointed when he saw the RAVE alert was Torien Miles, a senior at U of L. “I’m in the marching band and we had just had a performance the day before and I was on campus, as a black male wearing red. I wear red all the time,” Miles said.

“So I fit the description just a couple hours before that RAVE alert went out. And if had gone out, instead of 2 a.m. at 8 p.m. or something I would have been on campus fitting that description.”

Miles believes that if the university is going to stay true to their anti-racist ideas, there needs to be actions taken, and not just apologies after the fact. “That email is a good step in the right direction but it takes a lot more visible action and a lot more workable action to make these things right,” he said.

Faye Jones, senior associate vice president for diversity and equity said, “As the mother of children that fit the description of the RAVE Alert that went out this morning, I am sitting with the enormous weight and frustration of yet another example of how our systems can fail our young Black and Brown students, faculty and staff. The system unquestionably failed this morning.”

Jones said she would be working with her colleagues and university stakeholders to prevent this issue from happening again. She also apologized and offered support to anyone who was hurt by the mistake.

Story agrees that this mistake goes against the anti-racist goals the university has.

“If U of L truly aims to be seen and regarded as a premier anti-racist institution these types of incidents cannot continue to happen. Their needs to be structural changes behind those aims. I also think that financial allocations need to be adjusted within the University to prioritize departments, programs, and initiatives that have always been invested in teaching anti-racist praxis,” she said.

The Student Government Association ‘Top Four’ also believes the university needs to be held accountable for this incident. In a statement posted on social media they said,  “The Student Government Association shares your frustrations regarding this RAVE alert incident as well as the repeated alerts that went out a couple weeks ago regarding protests in the area. Campus safety includes all of us, and we cannot achieve that when we put our Black students at risk.”

“Please know that SGA has been working with ULPD and university administration on this issue. We are committed to holding university leadership accountable to this repeated issue.”

Graphic by Joseph Garcia // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L nears 300 positive COVID-19 tests Friday, Sep 4 2020 

By Joseph Garcia —

As Labor Day weekend begins, positive cases for the coronavirus continue to rise at the University of Louisville. U of L updated its dashboard Sept. 4 adding another 29 cases to this week’s total. The cumulative number of positive COVID-19 tests is now at 280 with an overall positivity rate of 1.52%.

This number does not include positive cases within the athletic department. Associate Athletic Director Kenny Klein said as of Sept. 4, the department has tested 92 positive cases since June 2.

With Labor Day this weekend and the 146th annual Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5, Student Body President Sabrina Collins reminded students to stay safe this weekend and continue following CDC and university guidelines.

“The COVID pandemic is far from over, and safety must remain the highest priority. We are exceptionally pleased with how our fellow students have kept each other safe during these first few weeks of the semester,” Collins said. “Keeping our campus safe is a community effort. Please consider your fellow Cardinals this weekend so we can prevent the spread of COVID-19 on our campus.”

Collins and other Top 4 members of SGA also told students that they should avoid attending or hosting any large gatherings of 10 or more people this weekend.

“Note that per the Code of Student Conduct 2020-2021 , ‘the University may take conduct action against a student(s) or student organization(s) who fail to follow federal, state, U of L, local and/or pandemic public health guidelines as established and distributed by the University,'” Collins said. “It is not worth jeopardizing the safety of others or your status as a student or student organization. ”

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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Good intentions lead to reckless results Tuesday, Sep 1 2020 


 By Zachary Baker–

The number of COVID-19 cases in the city of Louisville has been fluctuating in the recent weeks. With schools going back in session, including those that meet in-person, we’re likely to see an increase in cases.

With higher possibilities of an outbreak starting on campus, the student body is looking to the U of L administration for guidance. Instead of proper guidance, the university is changing their policies without warning. This may cause the predicted viral outbreak. 

Before classes began, the administration’s response to the Student Government Association’s letter stated their desire to follow the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s federal recommendation by not requiring mass testing. 

“We have a robust plan for testing and tracing, and we are urging everyone to get tested. But the CDC specifically states that mandatory testing is not advisable, and multiple lines of evidence demonstrate receiving a negative test encourages risky behavior and has been the direct cause of many outbreaks,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Beth Boehm in a letter to the SGA.

That is a stark difference from an email sent on Aug. 23 that stated within the coming week that testing will be required for all students and faculty. 

This move by the university seems to be with good intentions to protect the student body. But despite efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, their choice of actions may cause a viral outbreak on campus. 

It is important to understand why the federal guidelines said to not require testing: it would encourage negative behaviors within the student body. A group of people who did not want to be tested may receive a negative test and likely decide it is not dangerous to have a party or something similar. 

All it takes is one false negative or someone not yet tested to interact with that group and then you will have people with a “negative test” spreading COVID-19 to many others with negative tests. 

While testing can make us safer, the people most likely to be tested are the ones who wish to also self-isolate afterward. Those who do not want to be tested are likely to not follow the recommended guidelines set forth by the administration. 

Testing has been provided by the university within the first week and the administration has been posting a weekly COVID-19 positive test counter on the U of L website. Until Aug. 25, the counter only listed 53 positive cases.

There are many on-campus who wish to keep themselves and others safe by getting tested, but the university has not been very open about the processes. The positive test counter is not being updated frequently enough to promote confidence in the student body, and the contradictory language by the administration has caused unneeded stress instead. 

“A daily tracker would be invaluable to students who are deciding daily whether it’s safe to go to class in person,” tweeted senior engineering major Emily Walter on Aug. 22.

“We’re still only getting weekly updates, and that’s frankly unacceptable. While I’m thankful our cause count only rose to 90 in the last eight days, it could have been so much worse.”

She added that while she believes U of L is handling safe classroom procedures, they are failing in informing students.

Junior Kirandeep Kaur said that she took a COVID-19 test on Aug. 21, got the results Aug. 22, then was told on Aug. 23 that the mandatory testing protocol would require her to get tested again within the next week.

Let’s say, hypothetically, that the poor communication and the risks proposed by students going out after negative testing are worth it if the testing makes us safer. The issue is that the administration’s sudden change in policy has led to a dangerous testing area set up without realistic prep time. 

Today, students went to receive tests at the Student Activity Center testing area. In that one room, there were dozens of students in non-socially distanced space. If at least one is positive then they risk causing an outbreak at the testing sites.

Three weeks ago, we started classes with the expectation the administration is following CDC guidelines to protect us.

As the weeks went on, many students grew concerned with a lack of updates on positive test results. 

Now, despite any good intentions by the administration, the student body is likely more at risk by these changes. We can only hope that this sudden change will not be the cause of a viral outbreak on campus.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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University of Louisville student government against return to campus Sunday, Aug 16 2020 

By Eli Hughes–

The University of Louisville Student Government Association sent a letter to the U of L administration expressing their concerns with the return to campus for the fall 2020 semester.

The letter was signed by the SGA ‘top four’ Student Body President Sabrina Collins, Executive Vice President Lexi Raikes, Academic Vice President Ben Barberie and Services Vice President Henrietta Ransdell.

“The original plan to return to campus in the fall was founded in optimism. In the early planning stages, our committees planned in the hopes that the COVID-19 situation would improve by August; however it is clear that the pandemic has only worsened,” the letter said.

“With this in mind, it is essential to reevaluate our original plan with student, faculty and staff safety as the top priority.”

The letter went on to detail the concerns that SGA has heard from students. They claim that many students are untrustworthy of U of L and some worry that U of L is waiting for the billing period to pass before changing the in-person instruction plan.

Other concerns include the cancellation of the IBM Watson Health Project, that residents will not be informed of positive cases in their buildings and the inability of the university to fully put a stop to parties.

The SGA ‘top four’ then explained that re-opening campus would put certain minority groups who are already more vulnerable to COVID-19 at further risk.

The letter also acknowledged that another mid-semester shift to online-only courses isn’t fair, as many students struggled with the transition last year.

“We hear from students daily who view another mid-semester shift as a ‘worst-case scenario.’ Our constituents constantly ask us to ‘rip the bandaid off’ and tell them if we think classes will be online. Unfortunately, we have no answers to give,” they said in the letter.

The letter concluded by reiterating that SGA is no longer in favor of in-person classes for the fall semester.

 

University Response

Several members of the U of L administration responded to SGA’s letter, including Executive Vice President and Provost Beth Boehm, Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation Kevin Gardner, Executive Director of Campus Health Services Phil Bressoud and Chief Operating Officer Mark Watkins.

“We know this is an extremely difficult time for students, faculty and staff at U of L and higher education institutions across the country,” they said in the letter. “In this letter we want to respond to the concerns you have expressed.”

They recognized that the original plan was made in a different time as far as COVID-19 cases in Kentucky but said that they were constantly working to update the plan as new information came out.

The university’s letter went on to remind students that they had the option to take all of their classes online if they were uncomfortable with returning to campus.  Administration said that while U of L has a plan for mass testing and contact tracing, they are not in favor of mandatory testing because it can lead to students becoming complacent and engaging in high-risk behaviors.

They addressed the concerns with the cancellation of the IBM Watson Health Project by saying that the product was not necessary and they have used the money they would have spent on it to hire more contact tracers and buy a product that would help students check their symptoms daily.

The letter also addressed the concern of not notifying students of infected people in their dorms, citing that HIPAA constraints keep them from publicly sharing health information of students.

They went on to list several precautions that will reduce COVID-19 risk on campus such as devoting $150,000 monthly to campus-wide disinfection, limiting the amount of in-person classes and providing rooms for quarantine both through campus housing and hotels if necessary.

“We have a critical mission to serve. Whether through in-person, online or hybrid courses, we are committed to providing the best education possible despite the obstacles presented by COVID,” the university said. “We are committed to offering that outstanding educational experience while creating and maintaining the best possible environment for our students, faculty and staff.”

They concluded the letter ensuring SGA that they discussed all of the concerns within their letter, but that their discussions led them to believe that they were prepared for a return to campus for fall semester.

Collins, a senior, told the Cardinal that SGA appreciated that the administration took the time to respond to their letter and address their concerns. She said that she also believed the meetings that she had with administration during the days following the letter response were helpful even though she still has concerns.

The biggest concerns Collins has heard from students were related to being unsure of what this semester would look like.

“A lot of the concern stems from the uncertainty of the moment and if we are going to switch online mid-semester,” she said.

Collins also wanted to tell students to check their emails regularly for COVID-19 updates and remind them that they can reach out to general@uoflsga.org if they need a template for requesting to take a hybrid-course online or any further help with that process.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L sociology department leads anti-racism push on campus Friday, Aug 14 2020 

By Madelin Shelton —

The University of Louisville’s sociology department sent a July 7 letter to leadership raising concerns of systemic racism at U of L. Signed by more than 700 faculty, staff, students and alumni, it challenged the university to implement changes to become an anti-racist university.

The letter detailed several examples of unfair treatment of Black faculty at U of L, including biased student evaluations, marginalization of their teaching and research, a lack of opportunity to move into leadership positions and other instances of discrimination.

“The time and energy spent navigating these experiences greatly inhibit Black faculty’s ability to engage in the scholarly production of the currency of our institution – grants and publications,” the letter said.

The letter went on to explain that Black faculty’s classroom commitment to social justice often negatively impacts their careers in the form of unsuccessful retention, tenure and promotion reviews.

“Addressing structural and systemic racism at U of L will require all administrators, faculty, staff, and students to take responsibility and actively engage in anti-racist policies,” the letter stated. It went on to include a series of questions the university must respond to through action to move forward as an anti-racist university.

Both U of L President Neeli Bendapudi and University Provost Beth Boehm read and responded to the open letter.

Bendapudi said the letter and questions raised were thoughtful and necessary.

“This will be an engagement of the entire campus community to recognize the successes of the past, draw attention to the current anti-racist work being done on campus, and to chart a course for how we can establish ourselves as the premier anti-racist metropolitan university in the country,” Bendapudi said of the university’s recently announced Anti-Racism agenda.

Provost Boehm addressed concerns over lack of diversity among faculty by focusing on deans and faculty administrators’ roles in making diverse hires when able.

“We must work together to figure out how to change the way faculty and unit administrators make their choices about who will join their faculty ranks,” Boehm said.

Boehm also discussed the balance between incentivizing department deans to make diverse hires and not overreaching the authority of the provost position in selecting new faculty.

She said that the provost does not hire faculty and therefore does not have a direct hand in increasing the diversity of departments.

File Graphic // 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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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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There’s plenty of ways to get involved in campus life Wednesday, Apr 22 2020 

By Zoe Watkins — 

Even after Orientation and Welcome Week, the campus stays vibrant as ever almost every single day. There is no rest to campus life as there are many different things that a student can do to get involved with campus life and take part in the fun.

There’s plenty of social organizations for everyone’s interest

U of L offers many ways for students to be more social from Greek life to Recognized Student Organizations (RSO).

Even though she didn’t like the idea of joining a sorority at first, Junior Akanksha Gupta joined Kappa Delta (KD)after some her older friends pushed her to go through recruitment.

“Looking back, it was definitely the best decision I’ve made in college. I met so many of my best friends and have made connections that I never could’ve made before,” Gupta said.

She said a freshman should join a sorority or fraternity as it helps make them become a better person. KD shaped her into the person she is today as well as helped her grow. Gupta also said she gained life-long friends that have helped her make it through college.

If someone wishes to join a sorority or fraternity, Gupta said registration opens up on May 1.

Besides Greek life, the variety of RSOs offers students a chance to find new interests. Besides new interests, it is also a way to find people who share the same likes which was the case for junior Nicole Anderson when she joined the Tabletop Gaming Club for D&D.

Anderson says joining an RSO is a healthy way to fill downtime.

“You get to relax, share passions, make friends, and you get to learn about new stuff related to your passion,” she said.

Have a voice in our campus government

Make some change to campus through the Student Government Association (SGA), or even bring voice to a specific college since each branch of SGA has their own student council as well freshman council.

Sophomore Alexa Meza joined the Arts & Science Student council her freshman year as she needed a place where she could be herself and do the things that she loved.

“Through SGA, I’ve found some of my best friends and discovered the thing I’m really passionate about improving on campus,” Meza said.

She says what she loves the most about U of L’s student government is how it empowers students to improve areas in campus services or academic polices, solve problems, voice concerns and make change happen.

“The purpose of student government here at U of L, to me, is about improving the quality of life for students that are already here and making sure we give them the opportunity, the resources, and the desire to come back each year until they graduate,” she said.

Give back to the cardinal family

If the two options above aren’t interesting, there is still lots of ways to get involved with campus life especially with volunteering. This part of campus is heavily integrated into the cardinal community as there are plenty of days of service and even the Engage Lead Serve Board (ELSB) which offers service opportunities.

According louisville.edu, some things that students can do to volunteer is do a day of service such as MLK Day of Service, be a classroom note taker to help students with disabilities, become a Resident Assistant (RA) for campus housing or apply to be a Campus Tour Guide.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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SGA Elections should be your priority this week Monday, Feb 24 2020 

By Maggie Vancampen —

Student Government Association elections are underway and should be on everyone’s radar.

Even though people question what SGA actually does, it really is quite simple. SGA advocates for students at the administrative level and protects student rights.

Our current Student President Jasper Noble, and every president before him, serves on the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees runs the university and Noble serves as a voice for students in making final decisions on issues such as raising tuition.

The current Academic Vice President Sabrina Collins said her position sits on faculty senate and the executive board of faculty senate, committees regarding the Cardinal Core and implementation committees for President Neeli Bendapudi’s strategic plan.

Collins said Executive Vice President Kayla Payne is designed to run the student senate, promote diversity and works with athletics.

Service Vice President Lydia Burns is on committees that have to do with housing, parking and sustainability Collins said.

These are powerful committees that have student voices. They can make a difference.

However, SGA needs to know what students want. And the best way students can have their voices be heard is by voting.

Voter turnout has been historically low; the 2018-2019 school year election only had a 15 percent response rate with 3, 125 participants. Over 3,800 voted the previous year.

SGA hosted a forum for all candidates Feb. 19 so they could talk about what they wanted to improve within the University of Louisville community.

When this story is published, U of L will be in the midst of voting. Voting will end Feb. 26.

Photo by Anthony Riley // The Louisville Cardinal

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