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UK Board of Trustees vote to adopt President’s Recommendation 6

Matthew Mueller
Shared governance stones outside of J. David Rosenberg College of Law Building on Monday, May 13, 2024 at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Matthew Mueller | Staff

The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees (BOT) voted to adopt President’s Resolution 6 (PR6), a bill that would affect the future of shared governance at UK.

Passing in a 19-1 vote Friday, June 14, PR6 will allow the board to hold final policymaking authority, final administrative authority and final authority for the university according to the document. 

Although PR6 had previously been passed at the BOT meeting on April 26, University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto reintroduced the bill with a series of revisions, including the repeal and replacement of Governing Regulations (GR) I-XIV with GR I-VI. 

According to the document, the amendments would accomplish a multitude of objectives; one of which involves defining “a clear and appropriate distinction between the education policy making function of the Board and the respective responsibilities of the President and faculty to administer and implement the Board’s educational policy.”

The revised bill also planned on implementing the mandating of the review and revision of existing Administrative Regulations.

UK professor and Trustee member Hollie Swanson was the first to speak regarding PR6 as well as the only board member to vote against the bill.

“We are being asked to fundamentally change how this university operates,” Swanson said. “As an educator, I believe that educational decisions should be made by those closest to the classroom.”

Swanson expressed her disapproval of PR6, and said there was little information to support the bill.

“As a trained scholar, I make my decisions based on data. But what data do we have?” Swanson said. “The data that has been presented to us is from a singular report and yet, this report appears to be secret.”

Swanson said that the report must have cost the university a “considerable, yet undisclosed sum of money.”

Despite the alleged importance of the report, Swanson said that it has not yet been made available to board members.

“I have been informed in response to an open record request of the report, it may become available June 19, one working day after this vote has been made,” Swanson said. “Does this not give you pause? By voting in favor of this resolution, you, my fellow board members, are agreeing to a notion that educators do not have a formal say in educational policy.”

Swanson said that her vote was not against Capilouto, but rather in favor of more time to gain clarity and more information regarding PR6.

Trustee members Hubie Ballard, Elizabeth McCoy and Todd Case spoke after Swanson, and all expressed their approval of PR6.

“Leading through change is in my experience the very hardest part of leadership, and that’s where we are today,” McCoy said. “Of all the great things that have happened in the last 30 days, most universities don’t have that many great things (happen) this past year.”

Acting Board Chair Kimberly Scott McCann was the last to speak about PR6.

“They (PR6 regulations) position us for success in the future, and they’re the product of thoughtful deliberation, active consultation and feedback from across the campus,” McCann said.

McCann also acknowledged those who were against the passing of PR6 and spoke about the importance of different opinions. 

“I do appreciate that there are differences of opinion regarding the proposals this morning…as a board member though, it’s our job to determine whether the benefits outweigh the concerns,” McCann said.

President’s Recommendation 3 (PR3) was also passed during the meeting, which officially appointed Ned Crenshaw as the Dean of UK’s College of Design, who had been serving as the acting dean of the college since August of 2022.

Other significant topics of discussion included the appointments to the UK Research Foundation Board and the UK Mining Engineering Foundation Board, as well as the retirement of a number of trustee board members.

The meeting also discussed FCR8, a bill that proposed a $1.5 billion increase in UK’s Fiscal Year 2024-25 Operating and Capital budget, making the current $8.4 billion budget increase by 23.4%.

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