U of L will require COVID-19 vaccine Thursday, Nov 18 2021 

By Madelin Shelton — 

President Neeli Bendapudi  announced Nov. 18 university employees will be required to be vaccinated or face disciplinary action. This decision comes in light of President Biden’s September executive order requiring federal contractors to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The university is subject to Executive Order 14042 because of multiple federal contracts and agreements U of L depends on for operation.

The university reports more than 91 percent of students, faculty and staff are already fully vaccinated.

Bendapudi said that those faculty, staff and students who have not been vaccinated will be contacted directly and must be fully vaccinated or have approved medical or religious exemption on file by Jan. 18, 2022. Those who receive an exemption must get tested regularly.

“Those who fail to comply with the vaccination mandate or who fail to submit their updated medical or religious exemption will be subject to disciplinary action that may include unpaid leave and separation from the university,” she said.

This federal regulation also requires that U of L maintains mask and social distancing policies in accordance with Centers for Disease Control guidelines.

Members of the U of L community can get more information about being vaccinated on campus here.

 

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal 

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U of L AAUP rallies in opposition to new faculty policy Wednesday, Nov 3 2021 

By Madelin Shelton — 

Multiple members of a U of L faculty group rallied Oct. 29 to pressure the Board of Trustees  to reject a proposed Faculty Accountability Policy. Despite objections, the Board of Trustees passed the policy and it went into effect Friday.

The rally, held in Grawemeyer Hall, expressed dissatisfaction with the new policy by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and called on the board to send it back for additional revisions.

“The FAP is a radical administration proposal for the disciplining of individual faculty members, including for various vague offenses, such as ‘disrespect’ and ‘chronic attendance problems,’” the AAUP said in an email to faculty.

Michael Cunningham, Professor and Psychologist in the Department of Communication and the current President of the U of L AAUP chapter, said, “We see that our rights and our prerogatives and the administration’s respect for faculty is being trampled. Then we were asked to endure pay cuts, benefits cuts and retirement plan cuts.”

The AAUP has outlined five problems with the policy. The AAUP claims it is in direct violation of the Redbook, the basic governance document for U of L. The Redbook gives faculty legislative authority over all policies and procedures pertaining to personnel.

This new accountability policy was drafted by a Faculty Accountability Committee created under former Provost Beth Boehm. The AAUP argues faculty control over the creation of this policy was inadequate according to the Redbook.

Dr. David Schultz is a U of L biology professor and the current Faculty Senate Chair. As the Faculty Senate Chair, he sits on the Board of Trustees as the faculty constituency representative. He does not see the new policy as violating the Redbook. “If there’s going to be bad conduct by the faculty which is going to be, and historically has been, a rare event, the administration still has the power under the Redbook to enact then some sort of corrective actions for that misconduct,” Schultz said.

The policy was in response to two separate incidents of faculty misconduct. In one a faculty member is alleged to have provided alcohol to underage students. In the other  a faculty member is alleged to have not completed the mandatory annual human subjects protection training.

Schultz said that part of the reason this policy was created was an inconsistency in corrective actions put upon faculty in different units. “If a faculty member in one unit did something, and another faculty member in another unit did the exact same thing, you could end up with a difference in how the corrective action was applied. This policy is meant to make it a consistent application across all units,” he said.

Second, the AAUP states that the policy embodies unilateral administration decision-making about disciplining faculty. The policy outlines an undefined supervisor who will investigate alleged faculty misconduct and determine the extent of disciplinary action. The AAUP had proposed a faculty peer review step to the committee, but it was not included.

When asked about the extent of faculty input on the policy, Schultz said that faculty feedback was included throughout the entire process. “The policy went through numerous different faculty organizations for faculty input.” Specifically, Schultz mentioned that the policy went through the Faculty Senate Executive Committee multiple times, the Commission on Diversity, Race and Equity, and the Commission on the Status of Women. All of these, Schultz said, have a dominant faculty perspective.

The AAUP  argues the policy lacks explicit due process and procedural justice protections.

The AAUP also says the policy ignores  the need for creative problem-solving in perceptions of misconduct. Instead, they claim, the standards include little more than “administrator-imposed punishments.”

Schultz stated that the policy does not create a new power for the administration to use against faculty and clarified that although the policy has been put into effect, that does not mean it can’t be changed and revised later. “The provost has agreed to report back on how this is being applied and if the faculty senate feels there is problems with this policy, the senate can then take action, request changes, and bring this up to the provost and to the president as well,” he said.

Faculty asked for an emphasis on creative problem-solving to misconduct, but it did not end up in the final version. The policy instead included the following: “Faculty behavior may warrant remedial action. For example, a faculty member may be required to complete University-mandated training.”

According to the AAUP, “Not only does the statement not convey any expectation of insight and creativity, but it conveys a top-down mandate rather than a collaborative solution in which the faculty member is an active and equal participant.”

Finally, the AAUP declares the policy undermines faculty morale by sending the wrong message at the worst possible time.

Cunningham also pointed to the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) report.

“The recent Harvard-U of L ‘Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education’ (COACHE) report documented serious levels of U of L faculty dissatisfaction in nine major areas, including Governance, Leadership and Compensation,” said the AAUP’s email.

Cunningham, who attended the rally, was given five minutes to lay out the faculty’s case in opposition to the policy. Current Provost Lori Stewart Gonzalez spoke in favor of the policy, and ultimately the board approved it.

Once Cunningham and other members of the AAUP saw the board’s intent to move the policy forward, they walked out of the meeting before its official ending.

Work on the accountability policy began in 2019.

To date, the policy has not received an approval vote from the Faculty Senate or any other governing body composed of faculty.

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Student Government Association Looks for Student Concerns in Services Town Hall Wednesday, Oct 20 2021 

By Petra Stark–

As part of their first SGA Week, the Student Government Association hosted a services town hall, during which they asked students, “What are some issues around campus that you would like to see solved?” Additionally, Services Vice President Eli Cooper explained some of the services and initiatives that he focused on and encouraged attendees to be vocal regarding the changes they want to see.

Cooper began by listing some of the areas that captured most of his attention. His biggest concerns currently are expanding sustainability efforts around campus, expanding gender-inclusive and POC housing options as well as raising visibility for inclusive housing services that U of L already offers, and efforts to make walking around campus safer and more convenient.

Specifically, the areas under his jurisdiction include parking, housing, dining, public safety, sustainability, and facilities on campus. Cooper then opened up the floor to students, in order to gauge what issues are particularly noteworthy among the student body.

The first issue brought up was that the TARC bus’s route to the football stadium doesn’t operate on weekends, making it difficult for students without cars to make it to the games. In response to this, proposed solutions included expanding the Cardinal escort service to ferry students to the games in addition to their already-offered service of providing students with a safe ride around campus after dark.

Unfortunately, because the TARC service is handled by the city of Louisville, this makes any changes to routes or times significantly more difficult to see implemented, since SGA could not simply open a dialogue with U of L’s administration.

A second issue Cooper was presented with deals with the recent safety concerns as a result of crimes committed in apartments on and around U of L’s campus. While the L-Trail ensures students a well-lit route for when they’re out after dark, the trail notably peters out around the Ville Grille and the surrounding residence halls.

The L-Trail is supposed to receive an expansion into necessary areas, but the trail is state-funded, and U of L hasn’t received the funds promised by the state for the much-needed expansion. Cooper assured the concerned student, however, that the recent safety concerns would make the L-Trail expansion a much higher priority issue, and that the residential area around Ville Grille would be designated as an area that is in particular need of better lighting and safety measures.

Thirdly, after requesting any ideas for sustainability efforts students wanted to see on-campus, Cooper was asked what some of the biggest challenges regarding sustainability the university currently faced.

The answer had many components since sustainability includes many different efforts around campus, but some notable issues included expanding composting efforts, designing construction with sustainability certifications in mind, and flooding issues around campus.

Two more concerns raised by students regarding sustainability included lights being on in campus buildings far later than should be necessary, and the amount of trash produced by dining facilities that had no alternative disposal method like recycling or composting. Since dining facilities are handled by Aramark, the introduction of more compostable or recyclable packaging for food would have to be handled by them. They have resisted efforts to implement this change, citing a lack of student interest.

SGA is working to expand student coalitions for these different initiatives, but need students to express these complaints directly, or respond to surveys sent out by the SGA to gauge interest. If students have any other concerns or want to express their desire to see some of these changes enacted, Cooper encouraged them to email him at svp@uoflsga.org. More information about SGA can be found at their LinkTree.

File Graphic//The Louisville Cardinal

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Student Government Association Hosts SGA Senate Town Hall Wednesday, Oct 20 2021 

By Petra Stark–

Many U of L students are problem solvers, looking to solve issues that they see in their daily lives while on campus, but aren’t sure where to start. The Student Government Association wants to fix this through their first SGA Week, during which they hosted a series of town halls to explain to interested students how they can get involved and make an impact.

The town hall on Tuesday introduced students to the senate, the legislative body of SGA.  SGA’s senate is a group of student representatives from all of U of L’s colleges, with each college having a number of representatives relative to that college’s population of students. Because of this, the College of Arts and Sciences has the largest number of representatives by a wide margin.

The senate’s goal is to pass resolutions along to U of L’s administration, notifying them of student concerns, along with possible solutions to those concerns.

These resolutions can be written by any student looking to have an impact on campus, not just senate representatives. In the event a student not in the senate writes a resolution, they would simply need to get any representative to sponsor it, not necessarily one from their same college.

This offers students an accessible way to make the changes they want to see around campus. After a resolution is written, the Senate will hold a vote on it. If the resolution passes it is handed down to SGA executives, who would bring the resolution to U of L administration to see how the resolution could be integrated into campus.

The rest of the town hall involved a student panel, asking them questions regarding what inspired them to get involved, and what avenues would current SGA senate representatives recommend for students looking to get involved.

The panel expressed a variety of opinions on ways students could get involved, such as helping with preexisting committees with connections to SGA, such as the Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the First-Year Mentorship Committee.

Alternatively, students can reach out to current representatives and work to write their own resolutions, which the panel explained was one of the best ways to get a foot in the door. This would allow a student to campaign with the resolution under their belt. 

“You could write a resolution, then during the campaign, you could say, ‘I’ve already written this resolution, so if you want to see more changes like this one, be sure to vote for me!’” explained one of the representatives on the panel.

Members of the panel also gave some insight into some of the changes they are currently working on or would like to see considered by the Senate more broadly.

Such initiatives included more resources, and better awareness of preexisting resources, for survivors of sexual assault; improved funding for RSOs outside of event funding, since many organizations have to pay for resources out of pocket; resolving on-campus issues such as textbook pricing/availability and food insecurity (currently the Cardinal Cupboard, a food pantry available to members of the U of L community, is a major part of this effort, and can be found on the third floor of the Student Activities Center); and more transparency regarding SGA, examples including town halls like the ones hosted during SGA Week, and reaching out more to students who may be interested.

Any student interested in SGA’s senate is encouraged to get involved however they can, through committees, contacting their representative to write a resolution or even just attending senate meetings, which take place every second and fourth Tuesday of the month at the School of Law in Room 275 from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm. More information can be found by emailing a senate representative, or through SGA’s linktree.

File Photo// The Louisville Cardinal

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President Bendapudi shares highlights from 2021-22 budget Wednesday, Jun 30 2021 

By Eli Hughes–

University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi shared some high points from the recently approved 2021-22 budget on June 29. The budget was approved at the June 24 Board of Trustees meeting and projects an operating budget of $1.3 billion.

“Despite dealing with a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic that changed our university and our world in many ways, I am pleased that our trustees and our administration remain committed to advancing programming and enhancements that will benefit our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends,” Bendapudi said in the email announcement.

For students, the budget includes a tuition increase of $104 per semester, which Bendapudi says will be covered by funding from the CARES Act. Each returning student will receive a minimum grant of $400 per semester through this funding and high need students could receive up to $1,500 per semester.

Housing, dining, and parking prices will not increase for students this year and the university will provide laptops for 700 first-year students with high financial needs.

Faculty and staff will receive a 1% base salary increase beginning August 1 with the possibility for another increase in January 2022. The university will also restore contributions to retirement plans to where they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Employee retirement benefits, reduced as part of cost-reduction efforts in 2020, will be fully restored on July 1 to an automatic university contribution of 7.5% for eligible employees, with an additional 2.5% match for employee contributions,” Bendapudi said.

There will be no parking increase, health insurance cost increase or change in employment tuition remission for faculty and staff.

Bendapudi concluded the email by showing appreciation towards the Office of Finance and Administration for their work handling the financial repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. She also gave her thanks to the entire U of L community.

“I appreciate the hard work of our Office of Finance and Administration and the many faculty, staff and administrators who took great care of their unit finances during the past year. Together, we are making decisions that will promote the long-term health of our university,” Bendapudi said.

“Most importantly, I want to thank each and every one of you for your commitment to the University of Louisville. You are the reason we exist. And you are the reason we will thrive now and in the future.”

Graphic by Eli Hughes//The Louisville Cardinal

 

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BRIEF: U of L board approves plans for a hotel and urban Target near campus Friday, Jun 25 2021 

By Eli Hughes–

The University of Louisville Board of Trustees approved a letter of intent on June 24 to proceed with plans to construct a Marriott Hotel near campus. The property plans include up to 200 rooms, a conference center, an urban Target, a parking structure and a restaurant.

This property will be placed between Fourth Street and Third Street along Cardinal Boulevard. This space is currently occupied by Cardinal Mart, Insomnia Cookies, Maira Mediterranean Grill and Laundry and Tan Connection.

The project will be financed by Provident Resources Group Inc., a Georgia nonprofit corporation and U of L will not be financially responsible for the project.

In the agenda of the June 24 board meeting, the purposes of the project are listed as education and economic development.

“The mission being served is to academically engage students through diverse learning opportunities with an emphasis on experiential learning. This approach specifically targets the development of professional competencies in the areas of: (1) foundational knowledge, (2) program leadership, (3) administrative and management functions, and (4) professional skills and behavior,” the agenda stated.

It also stated in the agenda that the primary function of the project is not to generate profits, however, the University will receive surplus net revenues from the project.

The letter of intent that the Board of Trustees passed is non-binding and the project is still in its preliminary stages.

Photo Courtesy//The University of Louisville

 

 

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Vice Provost and Executive Director of Delphi Center Gale Rhodes sets last day for June 30 Wednesday, Jun 23 2021 

By Eli Hughes–

University of Louisville Provost Lori Gonzalez announced on June 11 that Gale Rhodes, vice provost and executive director of the Delphi Center for Teaching and Learning, is retiring. Her last day will be June 30 and a search for her replacement will begin during the fall 2021 semester.

“Gale has provided distinguished service to the University of Louisville since 1986 when she was named coordinator of Freshman Orientation courses. Since then, she has served in many roles ranging from director of academic services to director of distance and continuing education to her current role,” Gonzalez said in the email announcement.

Rhodes said that she is grateful for her time at the university and has enjoyed seeing the university grow and strive to become a great place for students.

“Louisville has been a great place for me to work, because I’ve grown so much and I’ve had lots of opportunities through the years and being able to make a difference, certainly in the lives of our faculty, but particularly for our students in the varied positions that I’ve had has made my career one that I’m really proud of,” Rhodes said. “So, I’m grateful to the university for the opportunities that they have provided me and also for the opportunities to make a difference.”

Marie Brown, associate director for teaching, learning and innovation at the Delphi Center, and Kristen Brown, associate director for online learning will serve as co-interim vice provosts until a long-term replacement can be found.

Rhodes stresses that whoever is chosen as her replacement will have a strong support system and they should take advantage of that help while they learn ways they can make their own mark on the Delphi Center.

“Whoever walks into this position next will have a very well-oiled machine of people who work very diligently and have so much to contribute to the institution. So what I would say to that person is trust your staff. They are really smart, they already know ways in which we can make a difference.”

An open house will be held in Rhodes’ honor on June 23 at the University Club.

Photo courtesy// The University of Louisville

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U of L plans to observe Juneteenth as a holiday Tuesday, Jun 1 2021 

By Eli Hughes–

The University of Louisville announced on May 25 that, starting this year, Juneteenth will now be recognized as a university-wide holiday. Juneteenth is celebrated annually on June 19 as a commemoration of the last enslaved people in the United States to learn of and receive emancipation.

“Juneteenth, short for June Nineteenth, marks the day in 1865 when the enslaved persons in Texas and other southern states were finally freed – more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation,” President Neeli Bendapudi said in the email announcement.

“Juneteenth represents freedom for our Black community and is a powerful reminder that racial and social justice are goals that are still to be fully realized. There is great success in our country’s history, and there is also great failure. When we acknowledge both, we can understand our wholeness better and begin to heal the wounds of our past.”

Juneteenth falls on a Saturday this year, so U of L classes and offices will be closed on June 18 in recognition of the holiday.

In addition to the university closing on June 18, there will also be a variety of events held that week to help educate and bring awareness to the university community. These include a lecture by Vanderbilt University Professor Michael Dyson, a learning café lead by the Employee Success Center with the founder of the Roots 101 African American Museum Lamont Collins, and a talk sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Equity and the Black Faculty/Staff Association with sociologist Oliver Rollins.

All of these events will be held virtually and more information can be found on U of L’s event page.

Graphic by Eli Hughes//The Louisville Cardinal

 

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BRIEF: U of L lifts mask mandate for fully vaccinated Cardinals Friday, May 21 2021 

By Eli Hughes–

The University of Louisville announced on May 20 that masks will no longer be required on campus for individuals that are fully vaccinated. This announcement follows the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s decision to revise COVID-19 masking guidelines and Governor Andy Beshear’s executive order that allows vaccinated Kentuckians to go unmasked in most situations.

“Effective immediately, fully vaccinated Cardinals are not required to mask in any setting on campus,” the email announcement said. “The university strongly encourages all Cardinals to get vaccinated.”

The university defines fully vaccinated as being at least two weeks out from the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or at least two weeks out from the single-dose Johnson & Johnson Vaccine.

The email reminded the U of L community to remain respectful of those who choose to continue to wear masks.

“Please remember that there are multiple reasons why some Cardinals are not getting vaccinated and others will prefer to stay masked and physically distanced on campus despite being fully vaccinated,” the email said. “Cardinals should respect the privacy and space of those who are staying masked and distanced on campus.”

The email went on to announce that U of L will be lifting travel restrictions for both domestic and international travel. There will still be an appeals policy for travel to areas designated as high risk and more details about the new travel policy can be found on U of L’s study abroad page.

The email ended by saying that more information about the Fall 2021 semester will be released later in the summer.

“Remember, this continues to be an evolving situation and our plans may need to change depending on the latest guidance from the CDC and the state,” the email said. “We will continue to keep you frequently updated and we look forward to safely building back our vibrant campus community with you this summer and fall.”

Graphic by Eli Hughes//The Louisville Cardinal

 

 

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BRIEF: U of L provides update to restrictions on indoor meetings Friday, May 14 2021 

By Madelin Shelton —

The university loosened COVID-19 restrictions in accordance with new guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Fully vaccinated university members are now allowed to remove their masks when meeting indoors with other fully vaccinated individuals. All individuals within meetings must be fully vaccinated to be able to remove their masks. If a meeting includes both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, masks are required to be worn by all attendees.

Masks must continue to be worn in indoor common areas of U of L.

“A fully vaccinated status is defined as being vaccinated for at least two weeks since the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks since the single dose of the J&J vaccine,” the university said.

More information about the university’s policies surrounding masks can be found here.

To learn more about getting vaccinated at U of L, click here.

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