Thank the dining staff for their work during the pandemic Monday, Mar 8 2021 

By Catherine Brown–

University of Louisville’s dining staff deserve appreciation for the work that they do to feed students, faculty and staff every day. 

On Feb. 17, U of L Dining announced their decision to reduce dining hours across nearly every restaurant on campus. With that decision came the closures of Louie’s Corner, Einstein Bros. Bagels and Chick-fil-A at HSC Commons.

According to U of L Dining, this decision was made regarding lower rates of students on campus due to COVID-19.

Students were not happy with the decision.

Several students replied to the Instagram post with #FreeEinsteinBros and demanded that the university reinstate the chain’s previous operating hours.

Einstein Bros. is a favorite dining option for many students on campus. The chain operates at early hours, which allows students in early morning classes or athletics to grab breakfast before class or practice. Many students depend on Einstein Bros., the Ville Grill, and Chick-fil-A to start their day.

Destiny Smith, a sophomore nursing major, says that Einstein Bros. has been her go-to breakfast spot when she has 8 a.m. classes.

“The staff at Einstein Bros are so nice, genuine, and funny,” said Smith.

U of L partners with Aramark, a corporation that provides food service and facilities. Therefore, U of L food service workers are technically Aramark employees, not U of L employees. But that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve any less appreciation.

Several students commented on the impact that the change had on dining employees.  

“Not only is this screwing over students but think of the employees whose hours have been drastically cut,” freshman Vito Sabino said. “These are not high paying jobs either. Seems like U of L is willing to live with impacting the quality of life for food service workers just to save a buck.”

“Think of the workers who will be laid off or will have their hours cut. How will they provide for their families,” said sophomore Savannah Quach.

The following week, U of L Dining announced that food trucks would be available Tuesday to Thursday for students to enjoy.

The decision was made this past week to bring these offerings to campus to aid in our ongoing efforts to improve the student, faculty and staff dining experience,” said U of L Director of Communications John Karman.

While the food trucks did receive decent crowds each day, students demanded that U of L bring back the regular dining hours.

Although students had more diverse dining options to choose from during that week, several original dining options were closed or their hours still reduced. 

Yet, how many dining staff struggled with having their hours reduced or had to worry about being scheduled that week?

U of L Dining has since announced that Einstein Bros. Bagels will open again for Grubhub orders. U of L will cover all transaction fees.

Think about how annoying it is to pay thousands of dollars on a meal plan. Then consider how little of that you can even spend. Finally, think about how little of that money the dining staff will actually see. 

Next time you go out to eat on campus, show your appreciation for the dining staff. If you can, stop and talk to them or give them a compliment. You might make someone’s day.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal 

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Construction of new dorm and Ville Grill renovation continue on track Thursday, Oct 22 2020 

By Eli Hughes–

Construction continues to progress on campus, as the new residence hall and renovation of the Ville Grill stay on track for their openings.

The Louisville Cardinal reported in July on the first phase renovation of the Ville Grill, stating that the second phase of renovations was expected to be completed by the end of October. John Karman, director of media relations for U of L, confirmed recently that the Ville Grill is still going to be completed near that deadline.

“The construction for the second phase has already started, and the plan is to have it complete by the end of the first week of November. Students will be able to use the space before the Thanksgiving holiday,” Karman said.

The second phase of construction on the Ville Grille will add a second floor that will increase the capacity of the facility from 400 to 600. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, only 200 people will be allowed in the building until further notice.

The new residence hall is also on track for its opening which is currently set for August 2021. Students will be able to live in the new residence hall as early as fall 2021.

The new residence hall will consist of five stories with 452 beds, 120 of those beds will be used for living and learning communities.

According to Director of Campus Housing Tom Hardy, the dorms will be enhanced traditional style.

“The enhanced piece means the restrooms are not your typical line of toilets, showers, and sinks; instead each restroom, and there are several per floor, contains its own toilet, sink, and shower for much more privacy,” Hardy said.

 

The building will also contain classrooms, two-tiered study lounges and game rooms.

The Cultural and Equity center is also currently under construction and will feature office suites and a courtyard. The buildings will be directly next to each other, but not connected internally so they will have to be entered separately.

 

Students were given a chance to help decide the furniture for the residence hall at the furniture fair on Sept. 28 and 29.

Another event related to the new dorm construction is the topping-out ceremony. Planned for Nov. 17, a topping out ceremony celebrates when the highest point of a building is complete. The ceremony will occur over live stream and U of L President Neeli Bendapudi will be in attendance. See more photos from inside the building below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos by Anthony Riley// The Louisville Cardinal

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Former Chi Omega member alleges COVID-19 guidelines ignored Monday, Sep 28 2020 

By Eli Hughes–

A former Chi Omega member has left the sorority because she said the group is not operating safely during COVID-19.

Meera Sahney, a sophomore at the University of Louisville, posted a letter to Twitter on Sept. 14 detailing why she decided to leave her sorority, Chi Omega, after two weeks. She left due to claims of large gatherings and feeling as though her concerns were being dismissed by the rest of the sorority.

Sahney said she felt obligated to share her experience on Twitter because she didn’t feel her concerns were being taken seriously by the sorority.

“I believed that I wasn’t being seen and heard and I believe twitter is a catalyst for systemic change,” she said.

Sahney claims that she showed up for a social gathering that was supposed to have less than ten people present. When she got there and realized that there were more people than expected, she left after 30 minutes. She grew more concerned when pictures surfaced of large amounts of members of her sorority attending a tailgate party, many not wearing masks.

“I was confused and shocked at girls who felt no guilt or shame about partying when people were dying- drinking while essential hospital workers sacrificed themselves- partying while people were getting evicted due to late rent payments,” she said.

Sahney raised her concerns to the rest of her sorority in a group chat but was dismissed and told that it wasn’t any of her business. She said that the reaction from the other members of her new members’ group chat was overwhelmingly negative.

“The attacks continued when I pointed out the disproportional rate of POC’s being affected by the coronavirus. I was told to stop preaching and making ‘blanket statements.’ I was told I was ‘aggressive.’ That I was ‘hostile,'” Sahney said. “In a group chat of 30 women, most of them white, most of them not willing to support any of the statements I made, most of them only ready to tell me that they are capable of making their own choices.”

She concluded the letter by asking for Chi Omega to commit to the following actions:

  1. Include questions about anti-racism in next year’s recruitment.
  2. Require micro-aggression training for all new members.
  3. Write out consequences for future partying and social gatherings that endanger U of L and the greater Louisville community, that align with the university guidelines.
  4. Commit to inclusionary practices for next year’s pledge class

Maggie May, vice president of U of L’s Chi Omega chapter, told the Cardinal her sorority does not tolerate any form of discrimination.

“To be clear, Chi Omega does not tolerate discrimination, nor do we tolerate risking our members’ health or that of our campus community in any way,” May said. “Should members violate Chi Omega or university policies, they will be held accountable through the corresponding disciplinary processes. We understand that we can always do better and we will continue to educate ourselves, grow, and improve for the good of our Sisterhood as a whole and those around us.”

“Chi Omega realizes it is our responsibility to do our part to ensure the physical health of one another and to be steadfast in fostering the well-being of Black, Indigenous, and Women of Color in our Sisterhood,” she said.

U of L also responded to the incident, encouraging all students to follow COVID-19 guidelines and stating that they expect sororities to be inclusive towards students of color.

“The University of Louisville expects our sororities to be open, inclusive and accepting of students, faculty and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds and points of view. U of L is a community of care,” said John Karman, director of media relations for U of L.

“As we continue to battle the pandemic, it is imperative that all students—Greek and non-Greek—follow the university directives regarding COVID-19. These include wearing masks, physical distancing and avoiding large gatherings,” he said.

U of L’s Panhellenic Council President Gabby Vincent did not wish to make a statement about the incident. “We aren’t able to comment on this specific case as it is a member organization-specific issue,” Vincent said.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal 

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Washing your hands won’t cut it: Get your flu shot Tuesday, Sep 22 2020 

By Catherine Brown —

Around this time last year, The Louisville Cardinal published an article persuading students to get their flu shots. Global health standards have changed since then. It’s time to get your flu shot.

The University of Louisville will provide free flu shots to students, faculty and staff starting Sept. 21 on the Health Science Campus. On Sept. 28, free flu shots will be available on Belknap Campus in SAC W116-117. 

Students might be surprised to hear that the university is not mandating flu shots the way they have with COVID-19 tests. U of L Director of Communications John Karman said flu shots are still highly recommended for students, faculty and staff.

According to the Center for Disease Control, vaccines produce T-lymphocytes and antibodies. The immune system often develops sickness-like symptoms such as a fever after receiving a vaccine, but these symptoms are normal and help the body to develop immunity. After these symptoms disappear, the body will remember how to fight that disease in the future should a patient get infected. Those infected shortly before or after the time of the vaccination might still develop the disease as the body has not had enough time to create these memory cells.

But the coronavirus is not the same as the influenza virus or any strain of it. Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 are still susceptible to the flu. 

U of L provides free flu and cold self-care kits to students. These kits can be found at Campus Health Medical Services, the Health Promotion office, and at designated flu-shot stations.

Even U of L students agree that you need to get your flu shot.  “Flu shots are necessary to get because it’s best to be protected against the disease so you won’t have a chance of getting the virus,” said Destiny Smith, a pre-nursing student.

This year, Smith said because of COVID-19 it is even more important to get a flu shot.

”Students should get the flu shot again because the symptoms are very similar to COVID,” she said. “Getting a flu shot is something that may help prevent the spread of COVID.”

Doctors aren’t just suggesting flu shots for fun. People often think they won’t catch a disease because of their good hygienic habits or a strong immune system, but these things aren’t always enough to protect you. Bacteria and viral infections are everywhere and we carry more of these in our bodies than we assume.

The CDC estimates that a range of about 12,000 to 79,000 flu-related deaths occur every year. COVID-19 deaths total at nearly 200,000 in the United States.

Since the early stages of the pandemic, immunologist expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has expressed concerns that the fall season will help spread the virus. 

“As we get into the fall and do more indoor things, we’re likely to see upticks in COVID-19,” said Fauci. He also advised wearing masks and social distancing, which can help control the spread of the flu.

Nobody wants to shake hands with you when you’re carrying harmful bacteria. Simple hand washing isn’t going to make the flu virus go away. Wear a mask and stay home when you can. Nobody wants to catch your virus.

Graphic by Joseph Garcia // The Louisville Cardinal

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Man convicted of multiple crimes committed on campus last winter Tuesday, Sep 22 2020 

By Madelin Shelton — 

Jefferson County resident Alfred Toe Kesseh, 23, has been convicted of burglary, robbery and rape by a grand jury after committing several crimes during the winter of 2019 at multiple University of Louisville student housing locations. He will serve 27 years in prison.

ULPD said Kesseh was arrested in January 2019 after stealing items from five students, holding three individuals at gunpoint, and raping a woman. The crimes took place at the Cardinal Towne and the University Pointe apartments.

According to the Courier Journal, “Kesseh was convicted of first-degree rape, first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, two counts of second-degree robbery, multiple counts of second-degree burglary, [and] theft by unlawful taking and fraudulent use of a credit card.” Kesseh’s sentencing is set for November 4.

In response to Kesseh’s crimes last year, U of L sent out two RAVE alerts within the first week of the Spring 2019 semester. ULPD also responded by expanding patrols and reiterating to students safe practices for traveling on campus, including utilizing the campus escort service and staying alert at all times.

Photo Courtesy of Metro Corrections 

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U of L to raise tuition by 2 percent for 2020-2021 Monday, Jul 6 2020 

By Madelin Shelton–

In response to the financial strain on the University of Louisville by the COVID-19 pandemic, the university has announced it will raise tuition rates for students by 2 percent.

The financial fallout of the coronavirus was predicted to create a $39,000,000 shortfall for U of L’s 2020 fiscal year . As a result of swift action, including employee furloughs, salary decreases and other cost-saving techniques, the university was able to achieve a balanced budget for the fiscal year.

However, COVID-19 is expected to cause a potential $82,000,000 negative budget impact in the next fiscal year. Among other strategies for making up the financial shortfall, U of L has decided to implement a 2% increase on tuition prices.

This comes as universities across the state have chosen to issue tuition freezes to further protect students from the drastic financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kentucky universities who have chosen to freeze tuition include: Northern Kentucky University, Kentucky State University, Morehead State University, Murray State University and Western Kentucky University.

John Karman, U of L’s director of media relations, said that tuition will rise $117 from the 2019-2020 rate of $5,866 per semester to $5,983 per semester.

“The university has been forced to use a number of levers to address the significant financial crisis caused by COVID-19. For fiscal year 2020, those levers included salary cuts, furloughs and reductions to employees’ retirement funds,” Karman said.

“For fiscal 2021, levers include the modest tuition increase and continued reductions to employee retirement contributions, among other cuts,” he continued.

When asked if the university’s administration was concerned with how this rise in tuition would impact students already struggling with the financial strain of higher education, Karman said that they were. He said the university plans to continue expanding its financial aid pool while dropping the cost of online courses to match the cost of in-person instruction.

Graphic by Joseph Garcia // 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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Bendapudi announces classes will return on campus in the fall Thursday, May 7 2020 

By Madelin Shelton–

University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi announced in an email on May 3 that the University of Louisville is expected to return to regular campus operations for the fall 2020 semester. This includes students living on campus and attending in-person classes.

Bendapudi said that U of L never did close during the Spring 2020 semester and that it continued to serve the 2,700 students who remained in campus facilities or affiliated housing.

She also said that U of L’s research and healthcare infrastructure and recent experience of moving swiftly from in-person to online classes has well prepared the university to respond to future rises in COVID-19 cases.

Bendapudi said that the principal concern is the health and wellbeing of the Cards community.

In preparation for the fall semester, U of L is employing several strategies, including having the Executive Vice President for Research, Kevin Gardner, work with U of L researchers and Campus Health Services to ensure quick testing of students, faculty, staff and contact tracing.

In addition, Executive Vice President and University Provost Beth Boehm is leading a work group to help U of L students get the best education in the fall and to support faculty and staff.

Bendapudi said that the university will continue to consult with local and state health officials and U of L experts as the situation progresses. She also addressed the still-present uncertainty with a situation like this.

“We know there are many questions that we need to answer between now and the start of the Fall semester. We will be providing a more comprehensive update on our path forward by the first week of June,” she stated in the email.

U of L Executive Director of Communications John Karman said that the university will be prepared to switch back to online only instruction if there is another spike in COVID-19 cases.  But he also made it clear that there will be measures taken to try to prevent an outbreak at U of L.

“The university will have significant health and safety protocols in place for students returning to campus this fall. Details of those measures should be revealed in early June,” Karman said.

Bendapudi ended her announcement with words of encouragement.

“What I have seen of our U of L family is that we are uniquely able to rise to a challenge and overcome it. This global health situation is no different. I have full confidence that the U of L students, staff, and faculty I interact with each and every day are ready for anything, and that is true in this situation as well,” she said.

Graphic by Alexis Simon //The Louisville Cardinal

 

 

 

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U of L takes further action to address the financial effects of COVID-19 Saturday, May 2 2020 

By Madelin Shelton and Eli Hughes

President Neeli Bendapudi has announced the actions that the University of Louisville will take to help alleviate some of the financial effects of COVID-19.

According to Bendapudi’s email, U of L is expected to lose $39 million by the end of the fiscal year. The athletic department is expected to add another $15 million to that loss. 

“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our University, hometown, state and nation has created a great deal of uncertainty for all of us,” said Bendapudi.

 “From the very beginning, I have expressed to all of you that my utmost responsibility is to protect the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff during this unprecedented time.”

Some of the actions already implemented include pay reductions for senior leadership and athletics administrators, a hiring freeze and various spending reductions. However, Bendapudi went on to detail the necessity of further action to cut university costs due to the financial havoc caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among these, the university retirement contributions for all employees will be stopped from May 1 through July 31 and some staff members will be subject to a temporary furlough at the discretion of their unit’s vice president, dean or vice provost. The furloughs could be for varying amounts of time dependent on the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, all faculty and some staff members earning between $58,000 to $99,999 will see a 1% pay reduction for the months of May and June.

Bendapudi emphasized that deciding to suspend the retirement match program was not an easy one, but one that is common among institutions of U of L’s size when facing financial crises. The university hopes to reinstate the match program by August 1.

John Karman, U of L director of media relations, said that there is a chance the missed retirement contributions could be made up at a later date. “There is a hope that these contributions can be provided to employees at a later time if our financial picture improves, but there are no guarantees,” Karman said.

To help mitigate the financial impact on furloughed employees in the meantime, the university has decided to cover the full cost of their health insurance, including both employer and employee premiums. These individuals will also maintain access to their tuition remission and are able to apply for unemployment insurance benefits.

Bendapudi also included resources available to employees facing financial difficulties, specifically encouraging those facing hardship to apply for the Staff  Help Assistance Relief Effort program. 

Bendapudi noted that the new actions are based on projections of returning the university back to normal operations on June 30. The lingering effects of COVID-19 could force the budget to be altered and further adjustments to be taken.

File Graphic//The Louisville Cardinal

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Student arrested for starting fire in dorms Thursday, Mar 12 2020 

By Matthew Keck —

A University of Louisville student was arrested  Feb. 29 for starting a fire in Miller Hall. Antonio Spuria, 18, was the student arrested and charged with arson and wanton endangerment.

John Karman, U of L spokesman, said that he is still enrolled at U of L but has not returned to the dorms since the incident.

The fire was reported around 2 a.m. on Feb. 29, on the second floor of Miller Hall. ULPD’s report stated that Spuria had set fire in a 55 gallon garbage that set off the sprinkler system.

During the time of the fire, the dorm was full of students that had to be evacuated. After the fire was put out and the dorm was entirely evacuated, crews had to come in and clean up and replace the sprinkler.

Karman said that the only damage caused by this incident was a broken sprinkler. There were no reports of anyone being injured because of this incident.

 

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