KY Senate Race 2020: Get out and vote in Kentucky’s local elections. Tuesday, Oct 20 2020 

By Catherine Brown-

Local elections are around the corner and students are encouraged to vote. On Nov. 3, Kentucky voters will have the opportunity to vote for our next state senator. 

Republican candidate and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell faces opposition from Democrat Amy McGrath, a former U.S. Marine fighter pilot.

The intensity of this election has been building up for the past several years. 

In a red state like Kentucky, McConnell is already seen as a given winner. He has the power of incumbency that could easily bring him a win this fall. 

But Amy McGrath is certainly making a name for herself in this campaign cycle. Her campaign is known for many ads that catch viewers’ attention, including a cartoon series titled “Swamp Turtle.” The animation depicts McConnell as the titular swamp turtle, with episodes depicting his interactions with other politicians and reporters. The cartoon portrays McConnell as slow and apathetic towards current events.

However the decision is ultimately Kentucky voters’. Those who vote are able to make a difference for those who can’t vote.

By voting, you impact the future for millions of children, non-citizens, and those who can’t vote due to physical restrictions.

This election is probably not going exactly how everyone expects it should. With COVID-19 affecting polling locations and voting procedures, it’s hard to get used to a new Election Day. But every registered voter should know that when they first registered, they were signing up to exercise their constitutional right to vote. 

The Cardinal has created two articles on both Senate candidates with U of L student’s opinions on who you should vote for.

For an opinion on why you should vote for Amy McGrath, click here.

For an opinion on why you should vote for Sen. Mitch McConnell, click here.

Remember, the time to vote is now. Early voting has already started. Have you made your plan to vote this year?

For more information on how to vote this year, visit the Jefferson County Clerk’s website, or Kentucky’s official voting resource website.

Graphic by Alexis Simon // The Louisville Cardinal

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UK & U of L basketball at odds over location of this year’s matchup Tuesday, Oct 20 2020 

By John McCarthy–

University of Louisville men’s basketball head coach Chris Mack recently expressed his concern regarding the location of U of L’s matchup with its in-state rival, the University of Kentucky this season.

Because of complications due to COVID-19, Mack suggested that playing Kentucky at a neutral site would minimize the risk of complications or restrictions.

John Calipari, head coach of UK’s men’s basketball, strongly disagreed with Mack on the rescheduling of this year’s commonwealth matchup to a neutral location.

U of L would have to host Kentucky at the Yum! Center this season without fans in attendance. Kentucky on the other hand would potentially be able to host fans and students when Louisville heads to Rupp Arena for the Cardinals and Wildcats 2021-2022 season matchup.

“Chris and I have talked and he expressed his concerns. While I understand the difficulty and the complications created by the pandemic, we are prepared to come to Louisville to play this season under the previously agreed terms,” Calipari said.

Via U of L and Kentucky’s contract, each school trades off home-court advantage year by year. If the 2020-21 matchup were to be rescheduled to a neutral site, it would cause turmoil prior to next year’s face off.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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Student petition asks for extended withdrawal date and universal pass/fail policy Tuesday, Oct 20 2020 

By Madelin Shelton — 

A student-led petition advocating for an extended withdrawal date and the option for students to make their classes pass/fail this semester has been circulating among University of Louisville students. It has received over 3,000 signatures.

Jordan Stewart, a sophomore at U of L, created the petition after hearing multiple U of L students discuss the struggles of trying to navigate college in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the petition began to circulate, the university announced that it would push back the withdrawal date for classes to Nov. 17. However, it will not be implementing the pass/fail policy implemented for the Spring 2020 semester.

The university gave several reasons for the pass/fail decision, citing that allowing too many pass/fail classes can risk losing accreditation and that “minimal passes do not guarantee success in the next course in a sequence, and allowing students to pass a requirement with a D- frequently harms their chances of future success in their major.”

Furthermore, the university’s email mentioned that students can choose, prior to the start of the semester, if they wish to declare a class pass/fail.

“They should exercise those options for spring, after consulting with their advisors,” U of L officials said.

The university also expressed concerns of a broad pass/fail policy encouraging disengagement and mediocre performance among students. Additionally, U of L pointed to the fact that many graduate and professional schools have not extended a pass/fail leniency to prerequisites taken during the Fall 2020 semester.

Of the announced pass/fail decision, Stewart said that is was upsetting because of the current state of the world.

“I understand what they had to say about the pass/fail for this semester but at the same time it’s really aggravating because no one asked for a pandemic to be thrown on them while they’re in college,” she said. “It’s irritating that they won’t see that it is so much harder for students to complete assignments and deal with professors who are not good at clearly communicating what they want during this time.”

However, Stewart was “ecstatic” to see that the university decided to push back the withdrawal date to Nov. 17. “Even if it wasn’t because of my petition it was still something I wanted,” she said.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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University of Louisville announces shortened spring break Friday, Oct 16 2020 

By Madelin Shelton — 

U of L has announced that the spring 2021 semester will include an extended Christmas break and shorter spring break. The announcement came as part of the university’s Pivot to Spring plan.

Spring break, which typically includes an entire week off school, has shortened to include only March 4 and 5.

The start of classes is also being pushed back. Spring 2021 courses won’t begin until Jan. 11.

The change comes amidst universities across the country either shortening or eliminating college spring breaks for fears of students traveling, breaking COVID-19 guidelines and returning to their campus with the coronavirus.

Paige Workman, a junior at U of L, was upset at first that spring break had been shortened, but had less apprehension about it once she saw that the university had extended Christmas break. She also understood where the university was coming from.

“If the university feels that it’s important to lower spring break to two days in order to keep us safe, I’m okay with that,” she said. “Especially because they were generous enough to give us an extra week off at Christmas.”

“With that said, it is still disappointing. A traditional spring break is something that everybody plans for and gets excited about,” Workman added.

Alli Wade, also a junior at U of L, criticized the university’s decision. “I think that the university was a little premature in deciding to shorten spring break.”

When asked if she thought that decision would discourage students from traveling, and possibly bringing back COVID-19 to U of L, Wade said she thinks students will travel regardless.

“It’s just a matter of if they’re going to take a long trip to the beach versus a weekend getaway with their friends,” she said. “I think if the goal is to prevent gatherings, I’m not necessarily sure that shortening spring break is going to be an effective tactic.”

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L not releasing number of active COVID-19 cases Thursday, Oct 15 2020 

By Joseph Garcia —

There have now been 681 positive COVID-19 cases at the University of Louisville as a result of testing. This is out of over 34,000 tests the university has administered from the start of the fall semester as of Oct. 14.

In the last seven days, there have been an average of 780 tests administered, of those, an average of 18 have been positive cases. The seven-day rolling positivity rate is 2.23%, while the cumulative positivity rate is at 1.95%.

University officials still refuse to answer how many of these cases are still active.

Executive Director of Campus Health Services Dr. Phillip Bressoud has yet to respond to the Cardinal’s request for an accurate number of active cases. The request came after Bressoud said the data previously available on the Kentucky Office for Public Health’s website “isn’t even close to accurate.”

U of L Director of Communications John Karman said that while he can’t speak to data found on the state’s website, “The university is not releasing figures related to ‘active’ cases.” He did not say why.

The university’s dashboard recently saw nearly 1,600 tests and 44 positive cases removed with no immediate response as to why. Today Karman told the Cardinal that those were removed due to “an error in the previously reported data that had to be corrected.”

“Incorrect figures were provided,” Karman said. “The dashboard has now been corrected to reflect the updated and corrected numbers.”

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L officials release limited COVID-19 data Tuesday, Oct 13 2020 

By Joseph Garcia —

The University of Louisville is experiencing a spike of COVID-19 cases and university officials won’t share more information beyond what’s on the testing dashboard. Over the past four weeks, the positivity rate has remained above 2%, it’s highest was 4.38%.

Since the university started testing, there have been 653 total positive cases of the coronavirus as of Oct. 13. Yesterday, however, this number was 697. The university also updated the total number of administered tests, removing 1,593 tests.

U of L Director of Communications John Karman said that he would get back with more information on why these cases and tests were removed. At the time of writing he has yet to respond.

Out of the now nearly 35,000 tests administered, and only a few weeks left of the semester, it is still unknown how many active cases there are currently.

The Kentucky Office of Public Health requires universities to send information daily on their COVID-19 data. On Aug. 5, the Cardinal reported that according to the data sheet on the Governor’s website, U of L had 140 active cases.

Dr. Phillip Bressoud, executive director of Campus Health Services, said these numbers are not accurate.

“The state’s website isn’t even close to accurate.  [The number of] total tests performed, positives, negatives (total-positives), percent positive are all available on dashboard,” Bressoud said. “These are all the test results the university has or has sent to the health department.”

He has yet to provide The Cardinal with a more accurate number of active cases.

The public health office’s data sheet has also been updated and does not include information regarding the number of active and recovered cases. It now only reports the number of new cases each day along with the number of deaths and cases ever positive.

When asked to what capacity the university’s isolation spaces were occupied, Karman said while he doesn’t have specific numbers, “We have capacity available.”

“Obviously, the university knows how many students are in isolation in the 40 available beds,” Karman later added. “That is not information that is being released to the public. I’m only authorized to tell you that we do have space available.”

“The data on the dashboard is what the university has chosen to release publicly,” he said.

When asked if the university had more COVID-19 data it wasn’t sharing with the campus community, like the occupancy of isolation spaces and number of active cases, Karman said: “I can only address the data we are releasing. It’s on the dashboard.”

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L’s COVID-19 dashboard doesn’t help students Tuesday, Oct 13 2020 

By Zachary Baker-

COVID-19 has shaken our way of life for months and it is continuing to spread even as we hope to move back to some sense of normalcy. For University of Louisville students, and college students across the country, they hope to make informed decisions about being on campus in order to stay safe and protected while furthering their education. 

Unfortunately, it has proven difficult to do so at U of L due to the university’s suspicious communications about its COVID-19 test results. 

At the beginning of the semester, the university said that the administration will be following CDC federal recommendations

Among these recommendations that the administration references, is that mandatory mass testing is not recommended for identifying and preventing the spread of the disease. Instead of mandatory testing, the university would allow for anyone to get tested at will on campus. 

For almost two weeks the university upheld this before suddenly changing their minds and requiring mandatory testing for all students, faculty and staff who frequent campus. The shift by the university came as a surprise, as everyone who had gotten tested previously had to get tested again.

On top of this, the university had promised to update a COVID-19 tracking dashboard regularly to keep students informed. This dashboard does not show active cases or individual people tested but rather total tests completed. 

U of L’s positivity rate is between 2-5% whereas Jefferson County’s rate was 7-10%. It might seem that U of L is doing a great job at preventing the spread of the disease. 

Joshua Pinkston, an economics professor at U of L, has done research into the effects of mandates on the spread of COVID-19. He said when you look at the number of new cases per day on a per capita basis, U of L might not be doing as good with COVID-19 as they say. 

“U of L is clearly doing worse than Jefferson County as a whole,” said Pinkston. 

“The average number of new cases per day per 100,000 over the past week in Jefferson County was 20.6. The university reported 18 new cases per day on average [over the] past 7 days. From what I can find, our students, faculty and staff add up to about 30,000 people. That means that the average daily number of new cases per person for the University is almost three times higher than for Jefferson County as a whole,” Pinkston said. “Anyone who wants to talk about our positivity rate being slightly lower than the surrounding area, also needs to talk about our average daily cases per capita being much higher.”

Pinkston said the university may not want to talk about the number of people tested because compliance with the testing policy has been low.

“My strong suspicion is that they don’t want to report the number of people tested because compliance has been terrible,” he said. “The university’s testing policy has still resulted in a selected subsample of its population being tested, and they don’t seem interested in talking about that.” 

Statistics professionals recognize that the methods used in the dashboard results aren’t accurate to the situation. So why is the university applauding itself for its reactions?

If the reasoning behind it is that they want to keep money coming in for the university then why don’t they come out and admit that to the student body rather than manipulating the entire process? 

The shift in university policy towards COVID-19 is very noticeable.

From a sudden change requiring mass testing in cramped spaces to the unreliable dashboard with statistically problematic numbers, the university is failing its students. The university is putting the student body at risk.

The university is playing a reckless game with student lives without being open about why. If there is to be any honesty, then these dangerous behaviors by the administration need to be called out and the student body needs to be vocal about real change.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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IT department warns U of L community about scam emails Thursday, Oct 8 2020 

By Eli Hughes–

The University of Louisville’s Information Technology department sent out an email on Oct. 4, warning the U of L community of scam emails being sent to some U of L email addresses. The scam emails claim to provide coronavirus relief funds to those who fill out a form.

The IT department advises everyone to look out for these emails, which are being sent from multiple email addresses.

“The emails have the subject ‘Covid-19 Benefits’ or no subject and references a $920 payment and a Giveaway. These messages are fake and are part of a phishing scam,” the IT department said.

Those who receive a scam email should report it by using the “Report Message” button on Outlook. They should also make sure they don’t fill out the form or give any personal information to the scammers.

“If you have provided any personal information on this form, please monitor your related accounts, and cease any further contact,” the email said. “If you receive a phone call from the scammer, ITS asks that you contact the ITS Helpdesk and provide the phone number that the scammer is texting you from. If you provided any account information, you should change your passwords.”

File Photo//The Louisville Cardinal

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Nearly 30,000 COVID-19 tests conducted at U of L Tuesday, Oct 6 2020 

By Joseph Garcia —

The University of Louisville now has 568 total positive cases of the coronavirus. This is out of almost 30,000 total tests conducted since the start of the fall semester. Of these cases, U of L reported 140 are still active cases among students, as of Oct. 5.

The cumulative positivity rate is at 1.91%.

With Fall Break now over, students, faculty and staff are again required to take a free COVID-19 test from the university.

Testing is available at these locations from Monday through Friday:

  • University Club Ballroom // 8 a.m. to noon and 1-5 p.m. (Open 6-9 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday.)
  • Cardinal Stadium Purple “A” Lot // 8 a.m. to noon and 1-5 p.m.
  • Student Recreation Center // 8 a.m. to Noon and 1-5 p.m.
  • Abell Administration Building (HSC) // 7-11 a.m. and noon to 4 p.m. (Open 6-9 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday.)

This round of mandatory testing will end on Oct. 23, however, U of L Director of Communications John Karman told the Cardinal a few weeks ago that “testing will remain available through the end of the semester.”

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal 

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U of L reports 100 active COVID-19 case, 543 total positive cases Saturday, Oct 3 2020 

By Joseph Garcia —

Going into Fall Break, the University of Louisville has a total of 543 positive COVID-19 cases as of Oct. 2. Of these, U of L reported 100 still active cases to the state office for public health. This is out of almost 29,000 tests administered. The positivity rate sits at 1.88%.

U of L has yet to release more information regarding the number of individuals tested or the number of active cases on the testing dashboard.

Associate Athletic Director Kenny Klein said that more than 1,100 tests have been conducted over the past week within the athletics department. Of those tests, 10 have come back positive.

When students return from break, a second wave of mandatory testing will begin. Any student, faculty or staff who frequents campus will need to be tested again.

While this testing period ends on Oct. 23, U of L Director of Communications John Karman told the Cardinal that testing would continue for the remainder of the semester.

It is recommended individuals make an appointment beforehand for their COVID-19 test, however walk-ins are welcome. That can be done here.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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