Our responsibility to stand up November 7, 2022
We know that hate exists in every part of our world and on our campus.
It exists in the form of racism, which we saw in a repulsive and violent video that was shared early Sunday morning.
We know it exists against people because of how they identify. We know it exists against people because of who they love. And we know it exists against people — here and in other places — because of their gender identity, their ethnicity, their accent, their faith, their ideology or their appearance.
But while we cannot simply move on from — and we must never deny — what happened or the hate that finds its way into our world and on our campus, we must find a way to move forward.
We must find a way for everyone in our community to sit at humanity’s table equally and with respect for one another. That is our responsibility as Kentucky’s university.
The sting and strike of a racist act is felt by the victims, to be sure. But it also is felt by all of us. Failure to identify racism — and directly speak out against it — prevents us from living up to our promise and potential.
We must, therefore, be accountable. We must never shrink from our responsibility to shine a light on racism and hate where it exists.
At the same time, we must adhere to the law and our Code of Student Conduct for determining when people violate community standards and the consequences that follow. That process for disciplinary proceedings is outlined as clearly and straightforwardly as possible here.
Enshrining our values — “including integrity, respect, responsibility and accountability, and a sense of community” — in a code of conduct and affording it as a fair process to everyone is how we uphold our community’s values and principles.
We defeat hate and ignorance, racism and violence, by calling it what it is and confronting it where it exists. We defeat bad and prejudiced ideas with better and more hopeful ones.
This weekend’s incident, abhorrent and sickening, happened on our campus.
How we deal with it now and in the days ahead will define us.
We must reckon with and discuss these uncomfortable and painful issues each day, more openly than I have in the past or that we have as a community. We will be doing that. It will define us, just as racism — and hate against those who some seek to marginalize because of who they are — remains our country’s existential question.
This is how we must start. I believe — even on days that anguish us and so unjustly hurt others — that where we are today is not where we will end, not if we remain committed, together, to this work.
We will continue to share updates as we know more.