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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U of L’s Black Student Union addresses demands in letter to university officials Tuesday, Jun 2 2020 

By Joseph Garcia —

The University of Louisville’s Black Student Union released a statement on May 31 calling for U of L and the University of Louisville Police Department to discontinue its partnership with the Louisville Metro Police Department. This comes after days of protests in Louisville for the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd.

“The relationship between ULPD and LMPD was described as ‘fruitful,’ and while that may be the case in regard to ‘safeguarding the assets of the university’–that is not the case when it comes to students, faculty and staff,” BSU President Maliya Homer said. “Nothing about being in closer proximity to state sanctioned violence makes us any safer.”

ULPD Police Chief Gary Lewis said the relationship between the two departments has gone back as far as the 1970s.

“As the years have gone by, the personnel strength of ULPD has grown which has enhanced the ability to handle all law enforcement related duties on our campuses,” Lewis said.

One of the resources Lewis said the partnership with  LMPD provides is the Real Time Crime Center, or RTCC. “Information gathered can be shared with law enforcement agencies across all of Jefferson County, to include ULPD,” Lewis said.

The student union is also calling for the university to rename the Overseer’s Honor’s House. Homer told the Cardinal she called for the renaming because the word “overseer” was once used as a term to refer to the middleman in plantation hierarchy.

U of L Director of Communications John Karman said the word is being removed from the building’s name.

“The University changed the name of its Board of Overseers last year to the President’s Council for the same reason,” Karman said. “Overseers is being removed from the Honors House name.”

“We’re demanding that the university respond with the same swiftness that they protected the ‘Free Speech Zone’ for people not affiliated with the university to taunt and harass students, staff and faculty for hours on end,” Homer said.

U of L has yet to respond to the BSU’s demands; however, Karman said the university and ULPD are aware of the BSU’s demands and are currently reviewing them.

“We will not settle for a flippant response filled with superfluous excuses and platitudes–we deserve so much more than that. Breonna deserves so much more than that,” Homer said.

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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Louisville football signee killed in Orlando shooting Tuesday, Apr 28 2020 

By John McCarthy —

Louisville football signee Dexter Rentz Jr. was shot and killed April 25 in Orlando, Fla. He was one of four people involved in the shooting according to “The Orlando Sentinel.” Rentz was the only victim pronounced dead.

“The Courier Journal” reported Rentz committed to U of L in June 2019. He credited his signing with the Cardinals to the bond he created with the Louisville coaching staff during his senior year of high school.

“They make me feel at home up there in Louisville. That’s where I feel like I belong,” Rentz said in a 2019 interview on 93.9 FM’s “The Drive.” Because of his connection to the Louisville football coaching staff, Rentz dedicated his senior season at Ocoee High School to develop into a leader and “help the younger guys see that there’s more to it than just football.”

U of L head coach Scott Satterfield said expressed his condolences on Twitter in a statement Sunday. Satterfield said that Rentz had already made a positive impact on the program.

“We are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Dexter Rentz. He was a great young man who had a contagious personality and was able to light up a room with his smile,” said Satterfield.

Rentz would have been slotted as the Cardinal’s wide receiver. Louisville assistant coach Gunter Brewer, who focuses on the development of wide receivers, said Rentz was a great kid and was eager to coach him.

Rentz would have been a freshman in the upcoming 2020 season.

File Photo// The Louisville Cardinal

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Heads up incoming freshman, here’s some advice to survive college Sunday, Apr 26 2020 

By Blake Wedding —

As orientation draws near, The Cardinal has decided to put together a list for incoming students comprised of helpful hints and suggestions on how to survive and prosper in college.

Attend any and all events 

The first tip that some incoming students may forget the importance of is to take advantage of any and all university events specifically catered to incoming students. These events will not only help students de-stress and get their minds off of studying for a while, but they are also excellent opportunities to meet people, make friends and find groups of like-minded people on campus.

Go to class

This is more of an obvious tip, but it cannot be understated: go to class. There are plenty of upperclassmen and older students at the University of Louisville who have been incredibly successful in their classes over the years because they understand this idea. While it is perfectly okay to miss classes for understandable reasons, one thing to avoid is the pitfall of making a habit out of missing classes.

Make an effort to participate in class as much as possible

One of the biggest issues many students face is that they fail to understand the importance in actively participating in class. Students should try to ask as many questions as possible and to interact with their professors both inside and out of class. This means that by being a more active and engaged student, professors and instructors will notice your initiative and discipline. This is one of the best steps you can take in making your learning in college more positive and fulfilling.

Study 

While it goes without saying that studying is imperative to prospering in college, another equally important thing to keep in mind is to find a proper place to study. A proper study space is all about finding a place where students can decompress, relax and focus foremost on what requires their attention. The library is a great place for many people at U of L to study, but some people tend to prefer local coffee shops around Louisville. It is all about personal preference at the end of the day. 

Make sure to prioritize sleep

Many people have made the mistake of losing sleep in favor of socializing or studying more than their mind and body can take. It might be easy to find yourself losing sleep, but it is something that their body and mind require in order to truly prosper in your classes. 

Graphic by// The Louisville Cardinal

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Cardinals’ basketball wins national championship in virtual simulation Thursday, Apr 23 2020 

By John McCarthy —

With live sports have been suspended during the coronavirus pandemic, there has been an emergence of esports. These simulated games help fill the void of traditional sports leagues now on hiatus.

ESPN took advantage of the opportunity and aired 12 hours of esports which included a Madden NFL20 tournament, a F1 Virtual Grand Prix, the Rocket League World Championship and an NBA 2K players tournament. Along with these events, Madden has also run a Greatest of All-Time tournament featuring the best players from every team. The tournaments utilize advanced algorithms to run the simulations.

One Twitter user, @2020NCAASim2020,  used a similar method to run a simulation on the 2020 March Madness Tournament, and the University of Louisville came out on top to win the virtual National Championship on April 6.

The bracket was based on the final projections from ESPN’s Joe Lunardi. The twitter handle, who is not associated with the NCAA, said “the use of advanced statistical algorithms” helped create the simulation.

In any case, it’s not a real tournament, but with March Madness canceled, this was the closest we could get to the real thing. Louisville won as a virtual No. 4 seed against the virtual No. 1 seed Kansas Jayhawks 74-69 for the virtual national title.

Virtual junior Jordan Nwora led the way with 17 points, virtual freshman David Johnson scored 11 points and virtual senior Dwayne Sutton added 10 points and six rebounds in the fictitious victory.

Shively Sporting Goods is selling a t-shirts in celebration of the victory.

Graphic by ??? // The Louisville Cardinal

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Uncertainty hangs over remaining campus students and resources Monday, Mar 23 2020 

By Joseph Garcia —

The Cardinal’s Assistant Editor-in-Chief gives an update on campus life amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Uncertainty hangs over empty walkways and seas of upright chairs. Any other day, a look at an almost empty Ekstrom library and you’d think University of Louisville students were away celebrating some long awaited break.

A week before Spring Break, no one would have predicted U of L President Neeli Bendapudi would make the decision to move classes online until the end of the semester and postpone Spring Commencement.

As the world around us hastily comes to a halt, so does life on U of L’s campuses. While a majority of students are holed up in the apartments or with family preparing for online classes, a few still remain working in “essential” university services like dining or the Campus Store. However as more and more places shut their doors and students are moved out of campus housing, worry continues to grow.

Amber Hurst, a gap year student working at the Campus Bookstore, has been working at the store for five years.

“Things have definitely slowed down a lot, it’s kind of hard to keep being productive,” Hurst said. She said with the state things are in, she’s worried about job security.

Hurst had picked up another job but after working only two weeks, she was told her job would potentially close due to the virus.

“I needed some extra money,” Hurst said. “And now with the Bookstore’s status, I’m a little bit worried.”

Across campus, the Ekstrom Starbucks has noticed a similar drop in traffic. Senior shift manager Davy Adams said they are getting a fair amount of customers in a given hour.

“It depends on the day too,” they said.

Policy changes because of the virus are also evident across U of L’s campus. Restaurants have removed all dine-in seating encouraging customers to continue practicing social distancing. Cleaning has also had an overhaul.

“We have to wipe down all surfaces every 20 minutes. Anything that we are touching with our hands we have to wipe down,” Adams said. They wish though that face masks could be provided for extra precaution. “A few people that work for Campus Dining have them, but they bring them from home,” Adams said.

Adams admitted they don’t feel particularly safe being back, even despite the lack of students. This was a common sentiment among many of the remaining student workers.

“I’m here because I have to make money,” they said. “I don’t want to say that I’m petrified to work here, I feel like we’re doing the best we can do. But as a working class person, what are you gonna do? You gotta work, you gotta make money.”

Even with the closures, and students being told March 18 to leave campus housing, there were still some resources available for students.

Kathy Meyer, assistant director of student leadership, said the Cardinal Cupboard, U of L’s first food pantry, will remain open during the campus closure as long as the SAC remains open. The pantry can be found in room W314.

“In the event that the Cardinal Cupboard must close, we recommend those in need of food search the Dare to Care distribution webpage for a list of mobile pantries and stationary pantries,” Meyer said.

Meyer also suggested students finding themselves in financial emergencies during this time apply for the Louis and Louise W. Wisser Bornwasser Emergency Fund. The fund’s goal is to “assist University of Louisville students who encounter an unforeseen emergency or catastrophic event,” said the Dean of Student’s website.

Photo by Anthony Riley // The Louisville Cardinal

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