What do they have in common?
…an inability to see the difference between serving their religious beliefs and serving all Kentuckians without discrimination or, in short, harassment behavior. In order to explain myself, a brief summary of Governor Bevin’s actions regarding the University of Louisville within the last 8 months is needed.
First, a definition, a public university board, such as the U of L Board of Trustees, has governing power over the associated university: the power to approve or reject budget plans, tuition increases, approval authority of new degree/certificate programs, selection of certain award recipients, and other student affairs. KY law gives the current Governor the authority to nominate replacements when a board member is removed or resigns.
However, in June 2016, Governor Bevin abolished the entire previous board, without just cause for each individual and without a hearing. He cited that the board was dysfunctional and out-of-compliance with diversity requirements (not enough minority representatives and majority democratic affiliation). The board at the time had five vacant seats that could have been filled to resolve this issue. Instead, he chose entirely new members and reduced the number of members from 20 to 10. A case was opened in the Circuit Court of Franklin Co. against Governor Bevin for removing members without cause or hearing.
In July 2016, the Franklin Co. Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd issued a temporary injunction that re-instated the previous board until a final decision could be reached. The final decision came in September 2016, and ruled that Governor Bevin had, indeed, overstepped his authority. The case was appealed and sent to the Kentucky Supreme Court where the case is still open. The previous board remained in power.
In January 2017, Kentucky legislature approved Senate Bill 12 giving Governor Bevin explicit authority to disband the previous board and select new members who will then be confirmed by the KY Senate. When new members are needed for a public university board, the Governor of KY must contact the Governor’s Postsecondary Nominating Committee. This committee is made up of 7 members, all appointed by the Governor, and their sole responsibility on the committee is to gather a list of potential nominees for a public university board.
All of this brings us to Angela Minter.
Yes, the same Angela who illegally trespassed to harass a client at the Louisville clinic; the same Angela who berated an escort with racially-barbed insults; the same Angela who refers to all fetuses as, “pre-born babies”; the same Angela who attempts to humiliate clients by contacting their families, churches, and communities because of an abortion, the same Angela who will go to any length to stop clients from having an abortion even though she had two abortions, herself.
Governor Bevin has appointed Angela Minter to this committee. Despite the fact that her primary, and possibly only, qualification and experience is operating a zealous pro-life religious organization, and despite the fact that she routinely harasses Kentuckians from all over the state for seeking a legal medical procedure, Bevin would trust her judgement in suggesting potential new members for the Board of Trustees? Is this what it takes to be qualified in Bevin’s administration? Are religious/political beliefs the primary deciding factor? And will those same religious/political beliefs be the primary deciding factor for the upcoming board members?
The committee, including Angela, submitted a list of 30 names on January 13, 2017 to Governor Bevin for consideration. Let us hope that Governor Bevin shows better judgment in his choices for the Board of Trustees. Let us hope that Bevin remembers his oath to support the Constitution of the United States and to be faithful and true to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The constitution requires separation of church and state. The commonwealth includes a significant amount of people who’s beliefs are different from Bevin’s. Will he use his political power to push a religious agenda? If the past two weeks is prologue, it doesn’t look good.
One definition of harassment is, “to make repeated attacks against (an enemy)”. Angela repeatedly harasses clients. Her enemy is the autonomy of each and every client. Angela wishes to subvert the choice of a client with her own decision about what is best. In a similar fashion, Bevin is making repeated attacks against the autonomy of U of L. He believes he knows best and is subverting the processes that were in place. There’s a phrase for this… something about birds and feathers….