Tuesday, October 27, 2009

University of Ky. approves Wildcat Coal Lodge

To loud protests from a group of about 30 people, mostly students, the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees voted 16-3 this afternoon to accept $7 million for a men's basketball dormitory on the condition that it be called Wildcat Coal Lodge. The dissenting votes were cast by student, faculty and staff trustees, who cited disapproval by their constituents. (Kentucky Kernel photo by Zach Brake)

After the vote the protesters crowded the barrier between the audience area and board table shouting their displeasure for the naming. The students provided a printed statement, which equated naming the building after coal with naming a building after liquor or cigarettes, to the student trustee to read, but he merely circulated it among board members. The board recessed until the crowd was escorted out, but a few board members stayed to hear the students.

"Big Coal is about to go down, and the university's going down with them," Cor de Jong, one of the protesters, shouted after the vote. Faculty Trustee Ernest Yanarella added during discussion: “This sets a precedent of identifying industry with university property. Had Phillip Morris given $7 million, there would be similar objections.” Board member Jo Curris disagreed: “I consider coal to be a source of great pride. Coal can very well be that mechanism that is going to retrigger the economy for the Commonwealth.”

Read our previous report about the donation here.

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