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President Capilouto sent messages to students, staff and faculty regarding proposed recommendations to the Governing Regulations revisions. 


Dear Students,

Over the last few months, I’ve been discussing with our Board of Trustees and our campus community how our University can do even more to serve Kentucky.

We do so much already, but with tremendous economic opportunities and the potential of thousands of new jobs coming to Kentucky, we believe UK can play an even bigger role in helping our state succeed. 

One aspect of that conversation has been the rules and regulations that govern how our University works. For example, do our rules make it easier to get things done or do they slow things down? Do they make progress hard? Do they leave people out of the process or include everyone who has something to offer?

I’ve been talking with your student leaders — including for over an hour earlier this week — to get their feedback on how we can create and revise rules and regulations that make progress easier. The Board and I also want to ensure you have more voice and more representation in what we do as a campus.

You can read a detailed draft of our thoughts and principles at this link. It goes into a lot of detail about changes we are considering taking to our Board of Trustees next month that speak to revised rules — what we call Governing Regulations — that state more clearly what we care about and how we want to involve you and all employees in the conversation around how we do even more for Kentucky.

I hope you will read all of it and provide your thoughts about it at this link. Here’s a summary:

First, I want to work with the Student Government Association to give you even more of a say in issues that specifically affect students. We need to hear from you in a structured and formal way about issues such as tuition, student employment, how we think about student disciplinary issues and our code of conduct. That’s a partial list, not a complete one. But it’s a starting point. 

Second, I want to create a more formal role — and voice — for students to give me counsel about some of the biggest issues confronting UK. And I want the student voice to be just as heard, and represented, as those of our employees. 

I’m proposing a President’s Council that will be composed of three students, three faculty and three staff, along with three senior administrators. I will meet with this group regularly and ask for their advice on issues that affect the entire campus — from our budget to what we should be prioritizing when it comes to new programs and initiatives.

Both these ideas would be substantive changes in the way students can and would make their voices heard on this campus. I hope you will take the time to provide feedback by April 3.

I will be communicating again in a week or so about how we are continuing to refine our thinking about these issues. Our plan is to take formal recommendations to our Board in late April, with the idea of implementing changes, if the Board agrees, for the fall semester.

I hope you are excited about how we can engage our entire campus — and you, our students — in how we do even more for the state that we serve and love. You are why we are here. This is a plan that I hope you agree takes another step toward putting students first in everything that we do.

Thank you.

Eli Capilouto




Dear Colleagues,

I’ve been engaging for the last few weeks in conversations across our campus about how we can accelerate our progress in advancing this state. As staff, you play a critical – essential — role in that effort.

I deeply believe you must have even more of a voice, and a say, in how we expand our efforts and accelerate our progress.

Specifically, our Board of Trustees has directed me to work with the campus make recommendations for potential revisions to our Governing Regulations in ways that make our efforts together easier and progress faster.

You can read more detail about some of the principles I’m thinking about for revisions to those rules at this link. You also can provide feedback at this website.

In summary, though, I believe it is critical that we elevate the voice of staff to have more say in issues specific to our employees across campus. At the same time, I want to hear more directly from staff about issues that impact the entire campus. 

These principles speak to those goals in the following ways:

First, I want our Staff Senate — your elected representatives — to have an even more formal role, and larger say in, issues impacting you. You have great representatives, who work above and beyond their roles as employees to represent your concerns. But we can create more formal ways to get feedback from you through the Staff Senate on issues that most concern you – compensation, benefits, infrastructure and facilities, among others. That’s a starting point for discussion, not an end. Our current Governing Regulations say very little, in fact, about the role of the Staff Senate. I want to bolster and expand that.

I’ve met with your Staff leaders often in recent months and multiple times in recent weeks about the ideas included in the principles’ document. Their feedback has greatly informed my thoughts on what I’ve put on paper as ideas for progress.

Second, I want to elevate the staff voice in providing me with counsel about the high-level issues that impact the entire institution. I’m proposing a President’s Council, composed of three staff, three faculty and three students, along with three senior administrators. I will meet with this group regularly to seek advice on the biggest issues confronting UK – from the overall budget to our strategic plan and other major priorities that affect everyone.

In all, the idea is to create a more equal voice for staff alongside strong voices from students and faculty. I’m convinced that will lead to better ideas, stronger results and an acceleration of our progress in advancing Kentucky in everything that we do.

I look forward to your feedback on these initial ideas by April 3rd. I will continue to meet with elected Staff leaders as we continue to revise these ideas. We will make recommendations for revisions to the Governing Regulations later in April, in time for our Board meeting April 25-26. 

If the Board likes the direction we are taking, there will be another month of feedback before a final review by our Trustees this summer. We will then begin the process of further fleshing out those rules to determine how they can work in practice over the next several months. Your elected leaders will be instrumental in that process, too.

We have done so much as a campus to make our state healthier, wealthier and wiser. You are integral to that work. Now, we are being asked by our Board and our state to do and be more for Kentucky.

This is an opportunity — one I know we will seize — to do that. Thank you for your commitment to UK and to the state we serve.

Eli Capilouto,




Dear Faculty Colleagues,

This link will take you to a document that outlines the principles that, based on further feedback from you, will inform recommended changes to our institution’s Governing Regulations (GRs). 

I hope you will take time to review them and provide your input over the next week at our Project Accelerate website. 

Our Board of Trustees has directed me and our campus to make recommendations for review at their April meeting. Our campus – thanks to you and the support of so many others – has been tremendously successful in growing every facet of our mission to advance this state in all that we do. 

In summary, the principles — based on my review of other institutions and conversations with nearly 1,000 people throughout our community — detail five important concepts for potential changes with our GRs, which serve as our foundational concepts for how we act and work together: 

First, the Board determines — and has authority for — all policy matters at UK. The Board — as the representatives of the people of this state that created this institution — does not delegate that authority. Right now, our GRs delegate what is often called educational policy to the University Senate. It is broad authority, not simply for the content of courses, but a host of other matters that are not about the curriculum. We are recommending potential revisions to our GRs to make clear the Board’s sole role and authority as the representatives of the people of Kentucky who we serve. 

I want to be clear: Issues such as the academic calendar and admissions and enrollment for the entire university will be recommendations to the Board or decisions that the President makes, in consultation with appropriate administrative leaders and elected leaders from the faculty, staff and students. That’s consistent with what other institutions do. It also reflects that many decisions are ones that impact the entire institution and our mission and, thus, need to occur centrally in consultation with others across the campus.

Second, there should be no question about our commitment to academic freedom, the exchange of ideas, protections of tenure and how faculty hold each other accountable for their performance. Our rules should make that clear — and state even more strongly than they do now — our commitment to those principles and values

Third, faculty control the curriculum. But faculty within colleges should have more control than they do now in that process. Most curricular decisions don’t need to go to a faculty-wide body. When there are disputes or too much duplication with respect to courses, the Provost, as chief academic officer, should rectify those concerns, consulting with faculty from across UK.

Fourth, the University Senate should be transitioned to a faculty-only elected body. Faculty will decide its composition and governing rules. The University Senate does important work. But it is, by design and structure, not a body that represents the entire campus, and it is simply incorrect to describe it that way. There are very few students and no staff on the University Senate. We need to ensure more voices and representation for everyone, including our faculty.

This change will lead to the creation of a Faculty Senate.

Fifth, while elected faculty, staff and students should focus on issues specific to the concerns of those community members, we also need more voices involved in providing counsel on institution-wide issues that speak to our mission. That is why I want to recommend the formation of a President’s Council composed of three faculty, staff and students each, along with three senior administrators. The Council would meet regularly with the President to provide counsel and discuss the policy issues that impact the entire campus. 

I believe deeply that this is the right direction for our institution: more voices, more clear lines of authority, more control at the local level closest to those impacted. 

We can continue to refine and improve these ideas over the next few weeks as we develop specific GRs for Board members to consider at their April meeting. 

I’ve met multiple times recently, including this week, with your elected leaders on the Senate Council. I think we agree on our mission to serve Kentucky. I acknowledge that there are a range of views on this issue. I’ve heard from faculty who agree with this direction, and I’ve heard from those who do not.

I respect that there will always be differences of opinion on a campus as diverse as ours.  

But I am directed to provide recommendations to our Board, based on what I believe to be best for our institution to thrive in the future. That institutional perspective – always a balancing of interests and concerns – is something unique to the role of the President. 

I must always be willing to listen and learn, to accept feedback and concerns, and to consult with our community. That makes for a better process and better decisions. 

Your voice is an extremely important one in this process. I hope you will provide feedback by April 3rd. 

And, ultimately, I hope you will support our efforts to include more people and more voices in strengthening our community and accelerating our progress on behalf of the state we were created to serve.

Thank you for all you do to make that mission possible.

Eli Capilouto