LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Members of University of Kentucky's African-American and Africana Studies Department are demanding more action from the university to make it a more inclusive place for all students and staff.
In a letter to President Eli Capilouto, a list of 10 demands were issued. One of them is to change the name of Rupp Arena. They say the name stands for racism and exclusion in the University's athletics department.
The department's other demands include things like maintaining the current levels of black staff through upcoming cuts, requiring a course on race and inequality for undergrads, raising black representation to 15 percent, and appointing more black leaders. To read the full letter to President Eli Capilouto click here.
The University of Kentucky has responded to the demands, spokesmen, Jay Blanton issued this statement in response:
“The faculty and students who have expressed these concerns are deeply valued members of our community. We thank them for their continued passion and commitment to advancing equity at UK. Senior officials have been meeting and corresponding with them to address their specific concerns, which speak forcefully to the systemic and institutional racism that we must thoughtfully and urgently address as a campus. Approvals already have been made with respect to the new faculty hires requested and discussions are ongoing regarding the creation of the Commonwealth Institute of Black Studies. But more must be done. And that is what our process – which hundreds of members of our campus have stepped forward to be part of – is designed to address. The work ahead of us is bigger than a plan written down on paper. Rather, we must respond as an institution, now and from this point forward, to be a community that stands against racism and that embraces people as their authentic selves.” – Jay Blanton
Back in January of 2020, UK Athletic Director, Mitch Barnhart was asked about a possible name change and said this about the name Rupp Arena.
"This is Rupp Arena. It's set apart from all other places ," Barnhart said. "There are other places that you hear the name of a place, this one's been this way for almost 50 years and it can't change."