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Kentucky universities asking for COVID-related immunity

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Kentucky’s public universities are asking the Kentucky general assembly for regulatory relief legislation. A number of requests were spelled out last week before an interim legislative committee. Eastern Kentucky University President David McFaddin spoke on behalf of all postsecondary public institutions.

Although difficult to quantify, McFaddin said these changes would produce savings. “There’s a lot of lag time and lost opportunity with a lot of these because many of them require documents, physical paper to be shifted from campus, across campus to the vendor, from the vendor back to campus, campus to Frankfort, back to campus. And obviously, time is money in that way,” said McFaddin.

In addition to streamlining some vending, leasing, and student identification policies, McFaddin said schools are interested in additional immunity protections. Specifically, universities would like to see state lawmakers approve legislation in response to class action taken by students seeking a refunding of tuition and fees paid during coronavirus.

McFaddin noted efforts made to keep students safe required virtual instruction and not in-person class. “That would take a lot of liability off the table to think that perhaps an entire, if not a half of a semester of tuition and fees, would have to be remitted back to the students because the modality of how their instruction was delivered was different than what it started in the spring of 2020,” explained McFaddin.

McFaddin said a law passed by the legislature addressing state public institutions would set some legal precedent and provide guideposts for the court system to consider the implications. The EKU president added the legal case could extend for a lengthy period of time.

Copyright 2021 WEKU

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