EVP Hayden Hearing

A Student Government Association (SGA) Supreme Court hearing in regards to an alleged violation of the SGA Constitution by Executive Vice President Katie Hayden was held Friday afternoon. The hearing was presided over by SGA Supreme Court Chief Justice William VonHandorf, along with associate Justices Gupta, Frakes, and Miglio. 

Senator Kai Speed (Sophomore – A&S) accompanied by Senator Rebekah Flowers (Sophomore – A&S) and Senator Daydrianna Jeffries (Sophomore – Kent School of Social Work), brought the case against the Executive Vice President (EVP) Hayden for failing to accomplish one of the duties of EVP as defined in the SGA Constitution under Section 3.3.10 which states the EVP must “Arrange a workshop to be given no later than five (5) months after their installation into office, which will heighten the awareness and sensitivity of all Student Senators to all cultures represented in the University of Louisville.” 

Senator Speed claims that by neglecting her duty to arrange the workshops, that should have been done by October of 2022, it interferes with the senators’ Constitutional obligation to “Attend the workshop to heighten the awareness of and sensitivity to all cultures represented in the University of Louisville, which will be arranged by the Executive Vice President, or attend an equivalent program by the end of the fall semester” as outlined in section 4.6.6.  

In response, EVP Hayden recounted that she had a conversation with the executive board of SGA, which is composed of all college presidents and the senate speaker, and had decided that the best time to hold the meeting would have been January 24th. Hayden planned for Dr. Lee Gill, UofL’s vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, to attend a meeting of the student senate to lend his expertise to the workshop, but Dr. Gill had to cancel on short notice, postponing the event. Instead, he sent EVP Hayden a letter with some of his goals for the workshop. 

EVP Hayden said the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) training was being looked into and plans were being made to have it at the next time the senate got together. She said that this plan was put into the record in a previous senate meeting and she believed that the senators understood and were ok with it because no one objected and the meeting minutes were approved unanimously. 

When Chief Justice VonHandorf asked for the desired outcomes of this hearing Academic Vice President Bryson Sebastian, present in support of the respondent, made a motion to dismiss the case. With no solid plan for a resolution from the petitioners Justice VonHandorf said that the given information would be taken into account and shared with the other justices, and that a ruling would be deferred to Monday afternoon (2-13) and the hearing was adjourned.

When asked by LPR why he felt the need to bring the proceedings against EVP Hayden, Senator Speed expressed frustration that “the diversity and inclusion committee just got filled last senate meeting” which, when coupled with the delayed workshop meant that in his view SGA leadership was “showing a lack of care for diversity of students on campus.”

 In response to questions about the outcome he would like to see from the hearing the Senator commented, “Ideally get the development board up and running and allow them to figure out how to reprimand the EVP, whether that be impeachment or more training on diversity and inclusion.”

Also present in support of the petitioner was Senator Rebekah Flowers (Sophomore – A&S) who, when asked for comment, responded that “DI is really important and the way it’s being handled is showing a lack of care for students on this campus.” “These are the leaders that are meant to represent them [the students] and they aren’t doing that.”

When asked for his views on the proceedings, AVP Bryson Sebastian said that SGA leadership was “fully intent to work with Dr. Gill on creating a training that benefits students.”

Executive Vice President Katie Hayden left before LPR could interview her at the hearing. But in response to an emailed request for comment she replied:

“While the empty accusation presented against me last week presumed that I have been negligent in my role, it failed to mention that my training proposal was unanimously approved in the Student Senate and Executive Board on multiple occasions. I have explained how I have been actively working with the VP of DEI to bring a new unique training before our heavily involved senators so that they could have access to a better training than what’s been done in the past. I am committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion across our campus, and my regular meetings with our VP of DEI, representation on both the University’s Equity and Inclusion Council and Senate DIC, and efforts to ensure all students are included in SGA proves that I am actively taking strides to make UofL an equitable place for all.”

The SGA Supreme Court released their final opinion Tuesday February 13th in which they reaffirmed that they do not have constitutional grounds to impeach or otherwise discipline EVP Hayden. The Court also noted that “An issue that creates a complication in our decision is the fact [that] the Development Board, the proper avenue to pursue redress for malfeasance or non- action, does not have a chair.” They recognized that this makes it difficult for the petitioners to find a solution but held that despite that difficulty the court has no bearing in this case. 

The Court therefore granted the respondent’s motion to dismiss the case. 

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