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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Pass/Fail grading is a breath of relief for students Wednesday, Apr 1 2020 

By Ben Goldberger —

With the recent switch to online classes, University of Louisville students are left stressing over the many uncertainties that surround the end of the semester.

The university recently got rid of one of those uncertainties by allowing students to choose whether or not to make their classes pass/fail instead of letter grades.

This is a great move by the university. Not only does Pass/Fail grading relieve a lot of student anxiety about maintaining high academic achievement through online classes, this gives the students the power to control their grades. 

In an email sent out by University Provost Beth Boehm, she said, “As always, we are doing our best to make sure that you can finish the semester in the strongest possible way and not be overly concerned that the disruption of COVID-19 will poorly impact your record.”

University administrators and professors have been extremely empathetic with students throughout these abnormal times, and this recent policy shift is another example of that. They want to make sure their students are put in the best position to succeed, and offering the Pass/Fail option is a great way to do so.

The best aspect of this policy is that students can pick and choose which of their classes they want to switch to Pass/Fail grading. They have until the last day of classes, April 21, to do so. Since a general “Pass” grade will not affect students’ GPAs, this gets rid of any impact that this pandemic could have on their records. 

This aspect is particularly popular among the students. 

“I think it’s really nice that we have the option to switch over without affecting our GPA,” says freshman Nia Watson-Jones. “Taking online classes is a lot different than being in person, so I really appreciate the choice that the university has given.”

Some people may look at this policy and think that this only enables students to be lazier and not be punished for not doing their best. While this is theoretically true, the Pass/Fail system more-so accounts for the educational setbacks that are inevitable in these uncharted times. 

If anything, it levels the playing field for students who were promised, and paid full tuition prices for, in person classes. The university understands that while they have world class professors and students, nobody was prepared for this sudden shift to online learning. This policy accounts for those unavoidable hiccups that will happen with this learning change. 

The world is going through unprecedented times right now, and it’s scary to think about the effects that this pandemic will have on society, both future and present. U of L administrators want to make this period of uncertainty as controllable as possible, and introducing the choice to switch to Pass/Fail grading is a great way of doing so. 

At the end of her initial email on the subject, Boehm shared a heartwarming story of how she celebrated her son trying his best in school, despite receiving a less than perfect grade. She then passed that same message onto all of the students at U of L, and said, “Success is doing your best, not being perfect.” 

The new policy released by the university allows students to do so without the anxiety and worry of not reaching the level of academic achievement that they maintained through in person classes. 

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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Provost Boehm shares update with faculty amid suspended classes Monday, Mar 16 2020 

By Matthew Keck —

University of Louisville faculty and students are returning from spring break to new territory: online classes. Amid this situation, U of L provost Beth Boehm shared an update and her thoughts on the situation.

Beginning March 18 all classes will be administered remotely, April 5 being the earliest date to return to in-person classes. For many professors, conducting online classes will be uncharted territory.

“I understand that many of you are stressed and worried about teaching remotely; honestly, I would be fearful too if I were teaching this semester,” said Boehm. “But we have an obligation to our students and our accrediting bodies to enable our students to complete their courses remotely.”

With faculty and students worried about the efficacy of these online classes, Boehm wants them to know that it will require patience on both sides.

“In a note to students, I asked that they be patient with their instructors, many of whom are teaching online for the first time,” she said. “Here, I am asking you to also be patient with your students, to be understanding of their anxieties, both about online delivery and the coronavirus itself.”

To reduce the stress of both parties, Boehm reiterated that faculty are being trained to properly administer their online courses to students. They have been working with the Delphi Center staff to ensure the online courses are a success.

In addition, Boehm reminded the faculty how important it is for the university to stay open during times like these.

“We are committed to staying open to help our most vulnerable students have food, shelter, and access to libraries and IT (and some other essential services) while they work to finish the semester,” she said. “Your leadership in modeling healthy social distancing practices, resilience in the face of stress and unfamiliar work conditions, and kindness and compassion according to our Cardinal Principles will help our students stay calm and healthy and will enable them to complete their semester successfully.”

She also urged faculty to provide students without internet access the information to receive a free 60-day period from Spectrum. “To enroll, students should call 1-844-488-8395,” said Boehm. “While we will be sharing this info with students, if you have students who indicate they are without internet access, please give them this information.”

In closing, Boehm said how this will be a stressful and difficult time for everyone. But with that in mind, administration, faculty and students all have to work together to make this transition seamless she said.

“I know we are a resilient institution, and I’m urging us all to call upon our best selves in the days ahead,” said Boehm. “We have a lot of work to do.”

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal 

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U of L issues no-contact order to student Monday, Feb 17 2020 

By Maggie Vancampen — 

The University of Louisville issued a no-contact order to the student who passed out anti-LGBTQ+ literature in a classroom Jan. 28.

U of L spokesperson John Karman said it was issued Feb. 13.

The no-contact order prohibits a person from having communication with another person.

Ricky Jones, head of the Pan-African Studies department, posted on Facebook that the student is not allowed to talk to the professor or students, and is not allowed near the classroom.

To further address the controversy, University Provost Beth Boehm said she is gathering a committee to review the current Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities, the U of L Code of Conduct and other free speech policies with the Kentucky Campus Free Speech Act of 2019.

She wants a mix of students, faculty and staff on this committee.

Professor Kaila Story, who teaches the Intro to LGBTQ Studies class, is glad this is over and can’t wait to get back to teaching. The U of L community expressed their dislike of the way the university initially handled the situation.

Boehm is planning a forum dedicated to exploring how to balance everyone’s right to free speech.

“We need to learn from this incident so that we can all do a better job of affirming our LGBTQ students — and all our students, faculty and staff,” Boehm said.

Interim Arts and Sciences dean David Owen said there is a list of things to implement. They are:

  • Plan a townhall meeting for the A&S community to campus community members affected.
  • A U of L police officer will be posted outside of the classroom for the remainder of the semester.
  • Priority counseling will be provided to affected students.
  • Review the Student Code of Conduct to make possible revisions.

“I am very proud – and we all should be – of the care and support many in the A&S and U of L community have shown for the students and faculty who have been impacted by this,” Owen said. “I also am proud of the critical analyses and passionate advocacy we have seen, which I am confident will continue and will lead to man[y] fruitful discussions and actions in the future.”

Jones hosted a forum Feb. 10 to discuss the situation.

Photo by Haeli Spears // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L begins search for new provost Friday, Feb 14 2020 

By Eli Hughes —

President Neeli Bendapudi announced in an email to U of L faculty that the university is beginning the search for a new provost.

Provost and Executive Vice President Beth Boehm’s two-year term will end on June 30 and the new provost will start on July 1. Bendapudi has called for a nationwide search for potential provost candidates and encourages U of L faculty to apply for the position, as well as nominate their colleagues from U of L or any other universities.

The provost serves as the second-highest authority of the university and reports directly to the president.

President Bendapudi said, “She or he will work closely with the vice presidents and deans and will manage both the day-to-day and long-term academic operation of the university.”

The candidate will be chosen by a committee appointed by the president and led by School of Dentistry Dean Gerry Bradley and Kent School of Social Work Dean David Jenkins. Applications will be accepted until the search for a provost has concluded. If a new provost is not selected by the June 30 deadline Dr. Boehm will stay on as provost until a candidate is selected.

Those interested in applying or nominating someone for the position can get more information from U of L’s website.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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Two people are being monitored for the coronavirus Friday, Jan 31 2020 

By Maggie Vancampen —

A second email sent to students and faculty said two non-students have traveled back from China and are being monitored off-campus as of Jan. 31. Travel has now been suspended to China and any other countries that have been identified with the virus.

Executive Vice President and Vice Provost Beth Boehm said, “The university has informed the Louisville Health Department about both of these individuals and will continue to follow Health Department and CDC recommendations in handling any cases of individuals arriving from countries in which the virus has been confirmed.”

According to a previous email, since the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) surfaced in Wuhan, China, the virus has spread to more than 16 countries with five confirmed cases in the United States.

The first email said symptoms include fever, cough and breathing difficulties just like the flu. The virus has even led to respiratory illnesses like bronchitis and pneumonia.

Campus Health Services has said students should see their doctor or call immediately if they have traveled abroad and are experiencing these symptoms. Campus Health Services has also confirmed cases of the flu which has no relation to the virus.

U of L spokesperson John Karman said, “We have experts in environmental health and safety on this campus, and we would coordinate with other agencies to address coronavirus or any other similar outbreak situations.”

Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to follow normal strategies to protect themselves like they would from the cold or flu:

  • get a flu shot
  • wash hands frequently or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • cover coughs and sneezes
  • clean and disinfect surfaces
  • avoid contact with sick people

Campus Health Services number is 502-852-6479 (Belknap) or 502-852-6446 (Health Sciences). For more information, visit the Campus Health Services website.

To learn more about the coronavirus, visit the CDC coronavirus website.

Officials declined further comment upon receiving the second email.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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Interim dean for Arts & Sciences College announced Saturday, Dec 14 2019 

Matthew Keck —

David Owen, Chair of Philosophy, was named interim dean of the College of Arts & Sciences Dec. 13. This comes after Dean Kimberly Kempf-Leonard announced she would be stepping down at the end of this month.

“I am very grateful that David has agreed to take on this large responsibility on short notice and to work with Neeli [Bendapudi] and me to make this a great place to learn, work, and invest,” said provost Beth Boehm. “I am also grateful to the many faculty and staff members of the College who have written me, spoken with me, or attended one of the meetings I held last week to discuss the interim position.”

The search for a new A&S dean has been ongoing since August. Boehm met with faculty and staff then to hear their thoughts about what they wanted in the new dean.

“I am also grateful to the many faculty and staff members of the College who have written me, spoken with me, or attended one of the meetings I held last week to discuss the interim position,” said Boehm.

Owen is the  chair of the Philosophy Department and will serve as the interim A&S dean through the end of the Spring 2020 semester. “I am confident that David is that best choice and that he will be a strong leader for the interim.  I know that the associate deans and dean’s staff will help David in his transition,” said Boehm.

Boehm also thanked Kempf-Leonard for her five years of service and her help with transitioning Owen into the interim position.

Photo Courtesy of The University of Louisville 

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Student removed from campus apartments after accidentally discharging firearm Wednesday, Nov 27 2019 

By Matthew Keck —

A University of Louisville student living in the Cardinal Towne apartments accidentally discharged a firearm Nov. 23, sending the bullet through the above room. No one was injured in this situation, but the student who fired the gun has been removed from Cardinal Towne and is facing disciplinary actions.

Executive Vice President and Provost Beth Boehm sent out a letter to students Nov. 26. “The student who discharged the weapon has been removed from campus housing and is facing disciplinary action as defined by the code of student conduct,” said Boehm. “Our housing office reached out to the affected students, offering them the opportunity to move to other housing, and the Dean of Students’ office and ULPD have engaged with the students to provide additional support.”

U of L Dean of Students Michael Mardis addressed the media Nov. 26 and said the gun was immediately seized from the student in question. He also said that the student wasn’t removed from the housing complex until Nov. 25, even though the incident happened two days before.

There was no RAVE alert sent out for this incident on Nov. 23. “As a reminder, U of L issues RAVE alerts when there is an imminent danger to students, faculty and staff,” said Boehm. “Because ULPD and Campus Housing quickly engaged the situation, there was no further threat to other students.”

Boehm also said in the letter that safety is the university’s top priority. She mentioned U of L’s weapon policy which prohibits deadly weapons on any property owned, leased, operated or controlled by U of L. This policy has been in place since 1996.

While both Boehm and Mardis said that the bullet went into the student’s closet, images from the student in the above room show the bullet was inches from her bed.

Boehm urged students, faculty and staff to call ULPD if they see something that concerns them on campus. She also highlighted the Cardinal Principle, being a “community of care.”

“Our safety is in large part determined by the quality of our response and the strength of the ties between us,” she said.

The student who fired the shot isn’t facing criminal charges, but is facing possible expulsion from U of L.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal 

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College of Arts and Sciences discusses search for new dean Wednesday, Sep 4 2019 

By Matthew Keck–

Beth Boehm, University of Louisville provost, met with the College of Arts and Sciences faculty and staff Aug. 30 to discuss the search for a new dean.

The faculty and staff had separate meetings with Boehm to voice their concerns about the search for a new dean. These meetings were held to create a safe space for faculty and staff to share their thoughts.

Boehm said they were meeting to discuss when and how they would search for a new A&S dean. She explained the search would be dependent upon the Redbook, which is U of L’s standard governance document.

A&S staff suggested an amendment to the Redbook rule to allow two staff on the search committee. Staff felt they have been underrepresented in past searches.

In order to change this rule in the Redbook, the board of trustees has to pass it. Boehm was also resistant to adding more staff solely because it would add more faculty.

The search committee for this process consists of 15 people total with eight faculty and one staff on the committee. It is possibile that more faculty and staff  are on the committee if they are a part of the Commission on Diversity and Racial Equality (CODRE). Boehm was adamant about keeping the committee this size so it doesn’t become unruly.

A major concern among Boehm and the faculty and staff was the issue of her term as provost ending next year. Faculty and staff were split on whether to wait for a new provost or move forward under Boehm.

Boehm said the dean search should start now because U of L has a president who is exciting and attractive to work for. Her apprehension was that a prospective dean may not want to come because they won’t know who their boss is.

Kimberly Kempf-Leonard is the current A&S dean and will be stepping down after the 2019-2020 school year. She announced this in July.

There was no mention of when the process of finding a new dean would officially start.

Photo by Matthew Keck / Louisville Cardinal

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Belknap academic building celebrates it’s first birthday Tuesday, Sep 3 2019 

By Victoria Harris —

The Belknap Academic Building celebrated its first birthday with instructor presentations and activities Aug. 29.

University of Louisville Provost Beth Boehm stood in for President Neeli Bendapudi as the speaker for the event. Boehm touched on how the BAB allows for professors to teach more interactively.

“This building has 27 classrooms that are all interactive that make it possible for people to share information with each other,” said Boehm. “It takes time on the faculties part to get used to not standing in the front of the room.”

During the BAB celebration, students were reviewing notes or on their laptops taking advantage of the armchairs and high-top seating. Professors had “poster sessions” during the celebration, so they could share teaching tips and techniques and learn from each other. These sessions were for professors to highlight their favorite active teaching methods and techniques.

Students could toss cornhole to win free pieces of candy and were allowed to experiment with the technologies at the poster sessions around the celebration. As part of the celebration everyone who attended the BAB’s birthday was treated with free cupcakes.

Anthropology professor Angela Storey teaches in two classrooms on the first floor of the BAB, which she said has greatly impacted her teaching style.

“The BAB has allowed me to teach more fully in the way that I would like, which is utilizing active learning techniques of all classes,” said Storey. “Everything about it has allowed me to utilize the same techniques that I was attempting to use in traditional lecture halls, [but] with challenges.”

The BAB replaced the old Crawford Gym which had been built during the early 1960’s. Fans and alumni had strong memories associated with the Crawford Gym, so the designers of the BAB tied in some of the wood from the gym benches into the seating that makes up the grand staircase at the entrance.

Cardinal Singers from the School of Music were at the event to sing “Happy Birthday” to the BAB after Boehm’s remarks.

Photo By Matthew Keck / Louisville Cardinal 

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