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Dear Students,

I apologize for writing to you late on a Friday. But we’ve been working intently this week to finalize proposed revisions to our most important rules and regulations that we will take to the Board of Trustees next week. I wanted you to have the latest in proposed revisions as soon as they were available.

In fact, over the last two months, I’ve been asked several times why are we spending so much time working on revisions to rules and regulations? Why, in other words, is this so important? 

We started the process because our Board of Trustees — the body that represents the people of Kentucky in determining who we are and what we do as a University — directed us to accelerate our progress in advancing the state. 

The rules and regulations can either help or hinder that effort.

But as I’ve talked with hundreds of you, in small and large groups, something else has given me a sense of urgency about this process. 

So many of you have told me that, as much as you love our community, your voice isn’t always heard — and your experiences aren’t really accounted for — in our current governance structure. As a result, you don’t always feel part of some of the most important decisions made at the University of Kentucky.

I can’t ignore or refuse to act on those feelings. 

That sentiment is too important, and you are, too.

That direct feedback from so many of you is why I will be proposing to our Board next week significant revisions to UK’s Governing Regulations (GRs). The GRs are the most important principles we have as an institution. They describe what we value in terms of shared responsibilities. Our Administrative Regulations (ARs) serve as the day-in-and-day-out rules for how we manage operations. 

Here’s what I’m proposing the GRs say about you and your voice:

  • The Student Government Association will continue to be the official voice of the student body at UK. Your fellow students are elected to represent you.
  • For the first time ever, the GRs will spell out in clear language important issues that we must consult on, and engage with, the Student Government Association about before making decisions. 
  • Those areas of what we call “primacy” for students include: tuition, the student code of conduct, student support services, student fees, attendance policies, student employment and student life matters. 
  • Finally, I am proposing to the Board the creation of a President’s Council. It will have 12 members — four students, four faculty and four staff. The Council will provide me with feedback and advice on the most important issues at UK — our budget, our priorities, new ideas and initiatives that will help move us forward.
  • Colleges also will be asked in the ARs to build out more formal avenues for how students will have a voice in decisions and processes.

You can read all the proposed revisions to the Governing Regulations and Administrative Regulations as well as a summary of them here.

The Board of Trustees will consider these proposals on Friday, April 26. There will be another month of feedback from the community before a final review from Trustees at their next meeting in June. 

So many of you have inspired me throughout this process. You’ve been willing to step up and speak out about your community and your voice in it. 

And you have reinforced to me that, collectively, we have the power to make changes that matter. You have given us the imperative to do so. We have the moral responsibility, too, to act with what we’ve learned and what we know.

That’s what learning institutions do. They gather knowledge and use that knowledge to make things better. I believe that’s what we are doing together.

Eli Capilouto,