U of L names Provost Lori Gonzalez as Interim University President Monday, Dec 13 2021 

By Madelin Shelton — 

The U of L board of trustees conducted a special meeting this morning at 8:30 a.m. to appoint Lori Gonzalez as Interim University President. The decision comes after the university announced Thursday that President Neeli Bendapudi would be leaving U of L to serve as President at Penn State University.

Gonzalez, who has served as executive vice president and university provost (EVPUP) since April of this year, discussed her enthusiasm in a statement to the Cardinal Community. “Since I arrived to Louisville in April to serve as executive vice president and provost, I have come to appreciate even more how special our institution is. Our students pursue their studies with passion and enthusiasm; our faculty invest time and wisdom into sharing their knowledge and dedication to the mission; our staff take great pride in supporting our mission and our students and faculty; and our supporters are passionate about their Cardinal institution.”

Gonzalez also expressed her optimism about where the university is headed. “Our university has tremendous momentum. We thank President Bendapui for her leadership in moving us forward. All strong organizations evolve, as the University of Louisville has done for more than 223 years. We are defined by our Cardinal Principles, by our actions and by our compassion for one another, not by any one individual and certainly not by others.”

Gonzalez joined the university as EVPUP after serving as vice chancellor for academic, faculty and student affairs at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis.

Photo Courtesy // University of Louisville

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Vince Tyra resigns as U of L athletic director Thursday, Dec 9 2021 

By Madelin Shelton — 

U of L has accepted the letter of resignation from now-former Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics/Director of Athletics Vince Tyra. The letter, effective Dec. 8, was sent Wednesday and received by U of L on Thursday.

The move comes as speculation rose over the last several days of Tyra potentially taking the same position at Florida State University. The U of L board of trustees even held a special meeting Wednesday to wave the non-compete clause in Tyra’s contract and the requirement that he give 30 days’ notice before leaving his position. The non-compete clause stated that Tyra could not leave his U of L AD job to go to another sports program at an ACC school. The changes seemingly paved the way for him to take the job at Florida State.

However, Tyra is reported to have withdrawn as a candidate as rumors began to swirl late Wednesday night that current U of L President Neeli Bendapudi had accepted a new position as President of Penn State University.

It was then announced earlier today that Michael Alford would serve as Florida State’s next athletic director.

The move comes as reports circulate about a rift between Tyra’s office and university administration, potentially leading to the contract change and resignation.

Tyra joined the university as Interim AD in fall of 2017 and was promoted to the role permanently in March of 2018.

 

Photo Courtesy // WDRB News

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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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New Cultural and Equity Center aims to increase inclusivity on campus Monday, Nov 1 2021 

By Tate Luckey —

On October 22nd, the University of Louisville reopened its new Cultural and Equity Center inside the new Belknap Residence Hall. The upgraded facility features the Cultural Center, LGBT Center, Women’s Center, and various study/multipurpose rooms for students of all backgrounds.

This reopening comes after the University was recognized for the 8th year as a Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award recipient, joining other universities like Clemson and Florida State. “Now that we have a whole building, and there are banners and flags all over it, we’ll get a lot more attention. I think it does help U of L become a more diverse campus,” junior Agustina Cisterna said.

Ashton Beckham, Porter scholar and finance major, felt similarly but thinks that the university can do a bit more. “I do think U of L is diverse, but I wish [the university] put more effort into enrolling black students in honors-level courses,” he said. “[The new space] is definitely better than the space in Strickler.”

The new center provides a more centralized location for the various diversity departments around campus. “It’s a really modern space that offers many helpful resources. Students of color now have easier access to the Parrish LLC, which is very convenient,” Beckham said.

In an interview with U of L News, President Neeli Bendapudi said that the center represents one of many major efforts the university has made in striving to become anti-racist and more inclusive to the entire Cardinal community.

If you’d like to learn more about the space and programs it offers, you can do so here. 

File Photos // Facebook, 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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The Louisville Cardinal launches new interview series with campus leaders Thursday, Jan 14 2021 

By Madelin Shelton — 

The University of Louisville’s student newspaper, The Louisville Cardinal, kicked off its “Louisville Cardinal Conversations” series Wednesday with U of L President Neeli Bendapudi and Cardinal Editor-in-Chief Joseph Garcia. The series will consist of live interviews by the Cardinal’s student editors with high profile individuals on the university’s campus.

Garcia and Bendapudi talked about a range of university issues over Facebook Live including the university’s anti-racist agenda, the NCAA allegations, the A&S Dean Search, COVID-19 and tuition.

When discussing the university’s anti-racism initiative, Bendapudi detailed what anti-racism is and what it looked like in practice.

“Anti-racism is the premise that nobody is superior or inferior to another person just because of the color of their skin,” she said, “One way for us to think about being anti-racist is doing everything we can to allow each person to succeed.” Bendapudi went on to convey the importance of investing in and fostering equity to ensure the success of everyone.

In relation to COVID-19, Bendapudi expressed her praise of the tenacity of U of L students during the pandemic. “All of you as students, I am so appreciative of all of you and I am so grateful for the resiliency you’re showing,” she said.

Bendapudi then relayed that by the end of next week every healthcare worker in the U of L system will have been given the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. She also said that, with authorization, the university hopes to give every faculty member, staff member and student the opportunity to receive the vaccine by the end of the semester. However, U of L is not legally allowed to require the vaccine since it was given provisional emergency use.

Garcia also asked Bendapudi whether students should expect another tuition hike in the upcoming academic year. She was not able to give a definitive answer but pointed to the competitiveness of U of L as compared to other state institutions in terms of student debt. According to her, U of L students have the lowest college debt as compared to students from every other public university in the state of Kentucky. She mentioned that any rise in tuition would be offset by trying to develop more need-based aid.

The recording of the full interview can be found here. Be sure to follow The Louisville Cardinal on social media @TheCardinalNews to be informed of the next “Louisville Cardinal Conversations” interview.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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Bendapudi challenges faculty to new “Grand Challenges” initiative Wednesday, Sep 16 2020 

By Victoria Doll — 

University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi is challenging faculty to use their research and scholarships to improve local communities through a new initiative called the “Three Grand Challenges.”

These challenges, identified by the Grand Challenges subcommittee, include: empowering local communities, advancing local health and engineering a future economy.

“We will help create communities where everyone has a voice, a choice and the opportunity to thrive,” Bendapudi said

The “Advancing Our Health” initiative seeks to help people live longer, healthier and more resilient lives. The final challenge, “Engineering Our Future Economy,” is aimed at designing a future of unmatched opportunity and incredible possibility.

By having the Grand Challenges subcommittee powered by researchers and experts from many disciplines, Bendapudi is confident that the U of L community can contribute valuable research to overcome these challenges.

“These are big, global problems our U of L community can help solve through multi-disciplinary research and scholarship. This transformative effort will take all of us — our researchers, scholars, innovators and students across every discipline at U of L. It is time for us to organize and move these challenges forward together,” she said.

Bendapudi went on to say that the solutions found to overcome these challenges will aid in creating a brighter future for Louisville, the state of Kentucky and the world beyond.

U of L is currently looking for faculty who desire to contribute to the “Three Grand Challenges” initiative. Interested faculty can fill out the “Join the Challenge” form.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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President Bendapudi’s anti-racist agenda to reshape U of L Tuesday, Aug 18 2020 

By Eli Hughes–

University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi announced U of L’s anti-racist agenda on July 28. The agenda is a part of U of L’s plans to establish itself as a premier anti-racist metropolitan research university.

“We serve a more racially and socio-economically diverse student population than most research universities in the country, and we have a unique, abiding and pervasive relationship with the City of Louisville,” Bendapudi said in an email to the university community.

“But we must do more. In higher education, we have the great good fortune to be able to aspire to the highest ideals of society. In our exploration and growth, I believe universities can be models for the communities in which they exist.”

Bendapudi went on to discuss what the U of L administration has done in the past to promote anti-racism and diversity, what they are currently doing and what can be done in the future.

Bendapudi summarized the university’s past by pointing out that U of L integrated in 1951, making it one of the first universities in Kentucky to do so. U of L was also one of the first universities in the country to create a Pan-African Studies program, which was started in 1973.

She then continued by discussing the current initiatives in place that promote anti-racism and emphasize diversity.

“For instance, half or more of all new faculty hires in the last year in the College of Business, the College of Education and Human Development and the Brandeis School of Law were people of color,” Bendapudi said. “This intentionality on the part of these unit leaders and their teams demonstrate a commitment to anti-racist action in our hiring.”

She also pointed to the on-going construction of the new Cultural and Equity center and a recent study that listed U of L as one of the three most selective universities in the country that provide equal access for Black and Latinx students.

Bendapudi went on to address the new initiatives U of L would be taking on to remain committed to anti-racism.

“Throughout the past seven weeks, I have been fortunate to have engaged in countless conversations with leaders, activists and friends throughout our Louisville Black community and across the nation,” she said.  “From those conversations, it is evident there is an array of perspectives on what must be done to achieve racial equity and there is no quick solution.”

She then discussed the Anti-Racist Agenda, which has it’s own webpage on U of L’s website. The website includes articles about the commitment U of L is taking anti-racism and articles about the current things the university is doing to make progress.

Bendapudi then invited U of L community members to visit the website and share their thoughts on new steps the university can take going forward.

Some students, however, think that U of L has a lot of work to do before they can claim to be an anti-racist university.

David Echeverria is a junior at U of L, an MLK scholar and the former president of the Latino Student Union. Echeverria urges the university to take actions that aren’t just performative.

“We are past the time for panels and discussions, it is time for action from the university,” Echeverria said.  “The responses from the University throughout the summer have been very disappointing and upsetting.”

Echeverria believes that there are several anti-racist actions U of L has to commit to in order to be an anti-racist university. These actions include cutting ties with the Louisville Metro Police Department, giving students of color a platform outside of SGA, prioritizing retention of students, faculty and staff of color and moving towards being precautionary towards racial issues rather than reactionary.

“If the university aims to be an Anti-Racist university, and actually perform as one rather than just acquiring another accolade to recruit ‘diverse students’, then there is a lot of work to be done,” Echeverria said.

“And that work should not be labor put on Black and Brown students, and if their input and work is needed then they should be compensated for the skilled labor, as it is clear those in administration at the university do not have the skills that are needed to move the university towards that goal.”

Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences David Owen also responded to Bendapudi’s announcement. He responded with excitement and said that anti-racism has always been his focus.

“My vision for A&S is one of a community grounded on discovering and sharing knowledge and understandings, where all feel at home and recognized as equals,” Owen said.

“A&S can only enact this vision if we address the systemic problems of justice and equity that are embedded in individual practices and institutional structures. Thus, a primary strategy for achieving this vision is to strive together to build the nation’s premier anti-racist university.”

Owen went on to detail how A&S has the advantage of being able to pull from their numerous diverse academic programs as they proceed with the anti-racist agenda.

Owen said that A&S planned to complete their search for Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within the next few weeks. He also said that he has asked members of A&S leadership to come up with one or two changes that can be made within their department, program or area to promote anti-racism. Owen has also proposed an anti-racist curriculum requirement that will be developed by a committee in the coming weeks.

“Additional areas of work may be identified as we engage our students, faculty, and staff in the university conversation about what the Cardinal Anti-Racism Agenda should mean in practice,” Owen said.

“To that end, please help us build a robust plan of action by visiting the Cardinal Anti-Racism Agenda website and providing your input on historic UofL initiatives that provide an anti-racist foundation upon which we can build; current and ongoing initiatives that represent steps U of L is taking to achieve our anti-racism goal; and ideas for new initiatives that foster equity and celebrate diversity. ”

File Photo//The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L sociology department leads anti-racism push on campus Friday, Aug 14 2020 

By Madelin Shelton —

The University of Louisville’s sociology department sent a July 7 letter to leadership raising concerns of systemic racism at U of L. Signed by more than 700 faculty, staff, students and alumni, it challenged the university to implement changes to become an anti-racist university.

The letter detailed several examples of unfair treatment of Black faculty at U of L, including biased student evaluations, marginalization of their teaching and research, a lack of opportunity to move into leadership positions and other instances of discrimination.

“The time and energy spent navigating these experiences greatly inhibit Black faculty’s ability to engage in the scholarly production of the currency of our institution – grants and publications,” the letter said.

The letter went on to explain that Black faculty’s classroom commitment to social justice often negatively impacts their careers in the form of unsuccessful retention, tenure and promotion reviews.

“Addressing structural and systemic racism at U of L will require all administrators, faculty, staff, and students to take responsibility and actively engage in anti-racist policies,” the letter stated. It went on to include a series of questions the university must respond to through action to move forward as an anti-racist university.

Both U of L President Neeli Bendapudi and University Provost Beth Boehm read and responded to the open letter.

Bendapudi said the letter and questions raised were thoughtful and necessary.

“This will be an engagement of the entire campus community to recognize the successes of the past, draw attention to the current anti-racist work being done on campus, and to chart a course for how we can establish ourselves as the premier anti-racist metropolitan university in the country,” Bendapudi said of the university’s recently announced Anti-Racism agenda.

Provost Boehm addressed concerns over lack of diversity among faculty by focusing on deans and faculty administrators’ roles in making diverse hires when able.

“We must work together to figure out how to change the way faculty and unit administrators make their choices about who will join their faculty ranks,” Boehm said.

Boehm also discussed the balance between incentivizing department deans to make diverse hires and not overreaching the authority of the provost position in selecting new faculty.

She said that the provost does not hire faculty and therefore does not have a direct hand in increasing the diversity of departments.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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President Bendapudi appoints new vice president for University Advancement Friday, Jul 24 2020 

By Eli Hughes–

University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi announced on July 22 that Jasmine Farrier has been appointed as the vice president for University Advancement. Farrier will begin in this new position on Aug. 1.

The vacant position was left by Bradley Shafer who announced that he would resign in order to move closer to his family.

“In looking to fill the position, I sought someone who would be authentic in telling the UofL story, who would build important relationships with all members of the Cardinal family, and who had established a proven record of delivering positive results,” Bendapudi said. “Dr. Farrier meets and surpasses all these criteria.”

Farrier is a political science graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned her Ph.D. in government from the Univesity of Texas at Austin. She has been a part of U of L’s political science faculty since 2002 and became chair of the department in 2018. She believes that her experience as political science chair will guide her in her new role.

“Being POLS chair showed me that our students, faculty, staff, alumni and community supporters want the same thing – across partisan lines, generations, and geography — a vibrant community that knows how to collaborate for our beloved U of L,” Farrier said.

“Our alumni and community partners want to help all U of L students build their resumes as they earn degrees. That’s how we build social capital for every student regardless of background.”

The University Advancement Office is responsible for fundraising, marketing and alumni relations.

Farrier has experience working with alumni because of the Political Science Alumni Council, which she helped establish. “The Council worked to support current students internships in Washington, D.C. and these experiences will propel those students toward future employment opportunities,” she said.

Farrier’s vision for the university is a future where the university supports and nurtures its students who will in turn graduate and become successful alumni who will make it possible to recruit and support more students.

“I also want to help our University grow closer to all economic facets of the city, Commonwealth, and region. Across the US, economic development is often tied to University expansion and a well-educated/high-skilled population,” Farrier said.  “The University of Louisville plays an essential role in the economic success of the city, region and Commonwealth.”

Farrier looks forward to beginning this new position and expressed gratitude towards the university, “This university took a chance on me straight out of graduate school with just a promise of future success. I am motivated by this gratitude every day and eager for this expanded opportunity to give back.”

Photo Courtesy//The University of Louisville

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