Bevins cuts betray universities

Less than a year after taking office, Governor Matt Bevin has proved through multiple means that he views himself above the law and as an entity that does what he pleases. 

According to ThinkProgress only 30.7 percent of Kentuckians cast ballots in the 2015 gubernatorial election, which could explain why Bevin works out of his own interest, and not the interest of the state. 

Bevins biggest blunder is considered to be his proposal to cut the budget of state agencies, including state universities. In January, Bevin announced he would immediately cut 4.5 percent from the current Kentucky budget. He also announced a 9 percent cut over the next two years; the cuts would have totaled $117 million according to an article published by LEX18. 

These cuts placed Kentucky State University in a terrible position. The 130-year old historically black college’s enrollment has dropped from 2,500 to 1,700 students since 2014, after it decided students could not re-enroll if they owed money to the university. With low enrollment rates coupled with Bevin’s proposed budget cuts, according to KSU president Raymond Burse, the university could lose about $10 million a year.

President Burse has to deal with the repercussions of these issues.

“We either have to declare a financial exigency or we have to put together a closure plan, neither one of which are acceptable to me,” Burse said in an article published by WDRB. 

Closing the only historically black public 4-year college in the state is nothing to be proud of.

President Capilouto expressed grave concerns about the effect Bevins cuts would have on the university in an article published in The Courier Journal. 

“Make no mistake about it. Every student, every employee, faculty, staff, everybody, will feel it,” Capilouto said. “We can’t protect any part – any part of our campus – in the face of these draconian cuts.”

Bevin also attempted to completely overthrow the University of Louisville’s Board of Trustees. In June, Bevin abolished the university’s 20-member Board of Trustees, and appointed 10 business leaders and professionals to these positions according to another article published by WDRB.

Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd issued a strong rebuke to Gov. Bevins abolition of the Board of Trustees in his order for an injunction. 

“[Bevins record] is devoid of any legal or factual precedent for a governor to abolish and recreate an entire board of trustees of a public university,” Shepherd wrote.

Shepherd also wrote Bevin’s, “unilateral action raises profound issues regarding the statues on governance of public universities and separation of powers under the Kentucky Constitution.”

Attorney General Andy Beshear, who sued to block Bevin’s new board of trustees, was also critical when speaking of him.

“The governor does not have ‘absolute authority’ to ignore the constitution and Kentucky law,” Beshear said according to an article in the Kentucky Herald Leader. 

Any governor who receives the amount of public criticism (in less than a year) that Bevin has is doing something wrong. Those Bevin is supposed to represent do not agree with the actions and policies he is enacting, and there are calls for his impeachment ringing from across the state. 

Perhaps Gov. Bevin should, for once, listen to his constituents and remove himself from office. At least that would improve his record of following the will of the people.