LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18)–The student groups that occupied the Main Building on the University of Kentucky Campus Tuesday are moving forward with the administration on their requests.
A member of one of those groups, the Black Student Advisory Council, told LEX 18 that she is feeling optimistic. She also said that the students feel like their voices have been heard.
“The president has shown great improvement when it comes to the timeline of these commitments,” said Tsage Douglas with the Black Student Advisory Council.
Douglas said that she and her friends left Tuesday’s meeting with President Eli Capilouto with little satisfaction. The members detailed five things they wanted to see change on campus, and there wasn’t a lot set in stone, but all of that changed when a few hours later, they heard from the president again.
One of their five commitments has been acted upon. The council asked that the O’Hanton mural be removed from Memorial Hall. In a letter from Capilouto, he agreed to immediately cover the mural and re-engage with a new committee to determine a long-term plan. The mural includes images of enslaved Africans, as well as Native Americans.
The University will now look at other solutions for the mural, and Douglas tells LEX 18 that the Black Student Advisory Council will be a part of that discussion.
“No student should be required to look at those depictions and that horribleness,” said Douglas. “Whether that means turning the entire building into an art gallery and not having students be forced to be in that space taking classes out of memorial hall or whatever that may look like. We are going to make sure that solution is permanent.”
The university is planning meetings to address the other requests of the council, including revisiting who the William C. Parker Scholarship is awarded to, and releasing the results of a 2016 student survey on campus climate.
“We were told that those findings would be released sometime in May or June and we’re actually going to have those results today,” she said.
Douglas told LEX 18 that she is happy to see these timelines shaping up.
“The university is showing that they’re willing to take a step in the right direction. We’re going to keep pushing for more, we’re going to keep pushing until that commitment is met,” she said.