Staff Senate met virtually on Dec. 8 via Microsoft Teams and they were joined by President Neeli Bendapudi and Chief of Police Gary Lewis. Senators received updates on campus security, an overview of the fall 2020 semester, and a grievance report.
Lewis provided an overview of the current state of the University of Louisville Police Department. Despite a rise in violent crimes reported to the Louisville Metro Police Department, Lewis informed senators that the university community has seen a decrease in violent crimes. Lewis stated, “I credit that decrease to the men and women of the ULPD, who create a barrier of stopping and deterring potential crime as it’s happening.”
Senators were informed about the success of several programs including the ULPD and Criminal Justice Internship Program. A former participant from the program that started as an intern has now graduated and will be hired on to become an officer within the department. Lewis highlighted this successful program as an important alignment with the Department of Criminal Justice and a worthy investment in students.
ULPD also reported community-wide upgrades to security and surveillance technology. Additional cameras have been placed around the Cardinal Towne apartments to eliminate a low visibility zone around the building. Similar improvements will continue to be implemented across all three university campuses.
Lewis also addressed concerns raised after an incident at University of Louisville Hospital that was not identified to the university community through the RAVE alert system. The incident was handled internally by the hospital’s security staff rather than ULPD forces. Lewis also provided clarification on the Clery Act, the federal law requiring colleges and universities to disclose information about crime on campus. After meeting with risk management and legal advisors, the determination was made that the incident in question fell outside of the geographical scope of the Clery Act. Lewis cited that this is due to the University of Louisville Hospital retaining private security and the Louisville Metro Police Department serving as the primary responding agency.
Staff Senate Chair John Smith followed up by announcing the launch of a new Comprehensive Emergency Response Center. The center will handle a wide range of emergencies on a university-wide scale. The center will be housed on the Health Science Campus on the first floor of the Nursing School building.
Bendapudi provided senators with highlights from the past semester. She reported that enrollment reached 23,000 in the fall 2020 semester, the highest it has been in the past 20 years. Research funding was at an all-time high at $170 million, and Bendapudi reported that it will continue to increase. She also highlighted the positive effects of last year’s university healthcare enterprise expansion.
“I am so grateful that so many people came together to allow us to back the acquisition of the Louisville-based assets of Kentucky One, It’s been a little over a year since we took over all of the assets. Imagine where we would have all been with COVID-19 without Jewish hospital, without Mary and Elizabeth. It’s a scary thought so I’m very grateful that continues to go well,” Bendapudi said.
The Staff Senate Grievance Committee reported one grievance filed in the last month. A small hearing committee met with the grievant, a first line supervisor, and a witness in the case. The recommendation was submitted to all parties, the grievant authority agreed with the grievance committee’s recommendation, and the disciplinary action was upheld.
Committee reports and a full video recording of the virtual meeting can be found on the Staff Senate Meeting page. The Staff Senate will not meet in the month of January. The next Staff Senate meeting will be held on Feb. 9 via Teams.