A message from UK Academic Leaders on Breonna Taylor case

Posted: September 23, 2020

The below message was sent to out to the University of Kentucky staff, faculty, and students on behalf of the university's academic leaders, including College of Nursing Dean Janie Heath   UK President Capilouto also sent out a message earlier today.  

Dear Members of the UK Community:

Our thoughts are with the family, friends and community members directly affected by this case. We know that coping in such a public way adds layers to already deep grief.

Like many of you, we experienced a range of emotions upon hearing this news. For some, it was frustration. For others, it was fear. Collectively, we share a sense of concern, urgency and responsibility.

We, as academic administrators, recognize the impact this development has on our university community, particularly students. We acknowledge the hurt and anger many are feeling. We acknowledge the sense of physical and emotional exhaustion many are experiencing. We also acknowledge the need to express these feelings in a meaningful way.

This is a difficult time, too, for many faculty and staff, who are processing their own emotions while simultaneously striving to support students. Mere words cannot capture our gratitude for the contributions of faculty and staff, now and always. They truly make a difference.

We want to state clearly our steadfast commitment to, and support of, faculty, staff, students and community members during this time. As academic administrators, we have no greater responsibility than to foster supportive environments for our learning community. These environments must be diverse and equitable.

For many, this decision is not only a representation of a racist history, but a reminder of the racism that persists. Within that context, we know that platitudes of support are not sufficient. However, acknowledging the import of this latest development and our shared emotional response is integral for being in community, together.

Make no mistake, as university leaders, we are devoted to being an anti-racist community. This is not a questionable concept, and there are no “sides” to this argument. There is not a neutral position or room for intellectual debate. There are only two choices: anti-racism or racism. We are clear as to where we stand.

None of us knows what is to come as the result of the senseless killing of Breonna Taylor. We look forward to engaging with you to ensure that justice and equity are not just superficially represented, but inherently embodied, pragmatically instituted and consistently ensured.

In Community,

Donna Arnett
Dave Blackwell
Christian Brady
Laura Bryan
Rudy Buchheit
Nancy Cox
Mary Davis
Bob DiPaola
Jennifer Greer
Kip Guy
Janie Heath
Julian Vasquez Heilig
Larry Holloway
Brian Jackson
Kathi Kern
Scott Lephart
Jay Miller
Jeff Okeson
Sue Roberts
Mark Shanda
Simon Sheather
Mitzi Vernon
Doug Way