FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Amid concerns about the financial stability of Kentucky State University and Tuesday’s sudden resignation of the Frankfort school’s president, Gov. Andy Beshear has ordered a full, independent and transparent audit of KSU’s finances.
To that end, the governor has signed an executive order to ensure that the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, or CPE, is empowered and has the necessary tools to provide guidance and oversight during the review.
“My administration will continue to support KSU and work with the interim leadership, regents and the Council on Postsecondary Education to keep students and the future of the university at the forefront, and ensure stability and transparency at one of our vital institutions,” said Gov. Beshear. “KSU has been a unique and essential institution in the commonwealth for more than a century, serving generations of students as Kentucky’s historically Black land-grant university. My administration is committed to getting KSU through this so that the school can continue to provide high-quality education to students for generations to come.”
His executive order has four main points:
--CPE shall provide an assessment of KSU’s finances to the governor prior to providing budget recommendations for the next two fiscal years, starting July 1, 2022.
--KSU shall provide CPE access to any records deemed necessary to preparing its assessment.
--CPE shall assist the KSU Board of Regents in developing a management and improvement plan with goals and measurable metrics, which shall be subject to CPE approval, to aid in organizational and financial stability. This will include reporting to and continuing oversight by CPE, concerning the implementation of the plan.
--CPE shall make recommendations to the KSU Board of Regents on administrative structure and leadership.
“The Council on Postsecondary Education is poised and ready to provide our assistance to the leadership of Kentucky State University as they move forward,” said CPE President Aaron Thompson. “KSU is vitally important to our higher education landscape as our state’s only public historically Black university, and as such, we are committed to its unequivocal success. While we’ve been monitoring recent developments, our next step is to gather necessary information so we can provide as much assistance as possible.”
After Brown’s resignation was read into the record, Clara Ross Stamps, the university's senior vice president for brand identity and university relations, was approved unanimously by the board to be the acting president.
Ironically, Thompson had been interim KSU president and was one of the finalists for the post when the regents hired Brown in 2017.