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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