Louisville, Ky. – The boards of Kentucky’s three biggest colleges are overloaded with Democrats, in direct violation of laws requiring state’s collegiate boards to reflect the ration of registered Democrats and Republicans in Kentucky, according to a new report by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.
Further, the organization says, the current boards of the University of Louisville, University of Kentucky and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System are “dominated by party members who helped bankroll the campaigns of the man who appointed them,” Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear.
Across the country, state university trusteeships are prestigious positions that are often filled by political supporters. Kentucky law attempts to limit that, the report says.
It requires that the governor’s appointees to state university boards reflect the ratio of registered Democrats and Republicans in the state — or 52.9 percent Democrat, 39.1 percent Republican.
Currently, the governor-appointed members of the U of L board include 12 Democrats and three Republicans (11 to four before Murray doctor Robert Hughes switched his registration to Democrat in 2014). Two of its members are registered independents. Applying the state’s “proportional representation” statute and the current 52.9-to-39.1 percent ratio of voters registered with the two major parties, U of L should have about nine Democrats and six or seven Republicans. The other one or two could belong to any party.
The imbalance gets worse at UK and KCTCS. Twelve of Beshear’s 16 appointees to the UK board are Democratic, four Republican. Under state law, it should be eight or nine of the former and six of the latter.
Seven of the eight governor-appointed regents at KCTCS are Democrats, versus one Republican. The ratio should be closer to five to three, according to state law.
The article includes a table of university board members, and their spouses, and how much they contributed in Kentucky’s last three gubernatorial races.