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Campus Community,

I am writing to provide you with an update on the state legislative session underway in Frankfort, as several issues important to UK are moving quickly.

Last week, the Kentucky Senate adopted its version of the state budget for the next two years. It contains many provisions that are similar to what the Kentucky House approved, although there are some important differences.

Like the House, the Senate’s proposed budget includes increases in both our base budget as well as more resources for the performance funding model that incentivizes Kentucky’s higher education institutions through several metrics related to student success. Because of your outstanding work and commitment, UK has continually performed well in resources allocated through the performance funding model.

Other aspects of the Senate’s budget proposal include:

  • Authorization for UK to utilize our resources to build a new hospital bed tower, improving patient access to the advanced specialty care only we provide.
  • Funding for critical new infrastructure for our Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment as well as continued renovations to facilities in the core of our campus, which we would, in part, match.

We are deeply appreciative of the continued strong support in both the House and the Senate, and from the Governor, for our efforts to advance Kentucky. They collectively recognize the inextricable link between our teaching and research, service and care and the capacity of our state to grow and prosper in the future.

Another issue that I know concerns many on our campus is legislation proposed with respect to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) on universities in our state.

Earlier in the session, legislation was passed in the Senate related primarily to “discriminatory concepts” in admissions and hiring. In the House, that proposal has been substantially changed. House members last week endorsed a proposal that would, if approved, eliminate funding for diversity offices and related efforts across our campus, among other measures.

Whether the Senate concurs with the House’s substantial changes will determine if it ultimately goes to the governor for his review.

We are closely monitoring the development of this issue and will keep you informed as we communicate with policymakers about the importance of a community of belonging for everyone.

Although the session is nearing its completion — the legislature must adjourn by April 15 — there is still a tremendous amount of activity related to higher education. Much can and will change.

Our team is there every day, monitoring proposals and giving voice to our perspective with policymakers who believe in what we do, but who also question in some cases how we do it.

Our mission is to advance this state in everything that we do. That will be our continual focus as we work with policymakers over the next few weeks on how we ensure a Kentucky that is healthier, wealthier and wiser in the future.

Thank you for all you do to make that mission possible.

Eli Capilouto