UK president addresses the university weeks after viral assault

UK President addresses the university weeks after viral assault
Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 10:32 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto is again responding to the viral assault on campus earlier this month.

President Capilouto says, in a nearly seven-minute video, that certain moments don’t slip his memory, as he recounts an incident just a few years ago when he witnessed racial slurs being shouted at students.

He commended them for showing restraint and poise, saying Kylah Spring showed them the same poise and restraint, the night she encountered rosing.

“We are entering a holiday and season for thanks. But, it is also a season of reflection,” President Capilouto said.

Just over two weeks after the video of Sophia Rosing shouting racial slurs at a fellow student went viral, Capilouto is addressing the university again with the steps they are taking.

“As raw, and real as that video was, I can’t imagine what it is like to have someone attempt to debase and denigrate your very presence because of the color of your skin,” Capilouto said. “to fear for your safety while someone spews vile and racist hatred.”

In the fallout from the video, students gathered on campus for a march against racism. There, the victim in the video gave emotional testimony.

“To Ms. Rosing, you will not break my spirit,” Kylah Spring said.

Other students have held virtual town halls to address their concerns and what they believe are shortcomings of the university. Concerns, Capilouto says, they are working to correct.

“We need to communicate better about the steps we have taken. We also need to continually redouble our efforts and our vigilance to support our students and employees of color,” Capilouto said.

Capilouto says efforts were already underway, such as spaces dedicated to diversity and inclusion, inclusive mental health support, and hiring diversity, equity and inclusion officers.

“When members of the community don’t meet that expectation, when they don’t match our values, we must be willing to bear witness, call it out, repair the harm and right the wrong,” Capilouto said.

President Capilouto is reminding students that there is no need to wait for a campus-wide initiative, or some administratively led activity to continue or begin these conversations. He is encouraging students as individuals, student organizations, colleges and units throughout campus to take their own steps.

Sophia Rosing has been permanently banned from UK. The case was waived to a grand jury last week. She is facing charges of alcohol intoxication, disorderly conduct, assault and assaulting a police officer.