UK Gets a Poor Grade in National Ranking

by John LaFollette
Page One Kentucky Correspondent

US News and World Report published its annual college rankings online today, with the University of Kentucky again finishing outside of the top-100 national universities.  UK was tied for 128th, at the bottom of the top tier of national universities, which focus on producing groundbreaking research as well as offering a full range of undergraduate, graduated, and doctoral degrees.

Among public schools, UK was 64th — 44 spots shy of its stated goal of becoming a top-20 public research university by 2020 — which means the Cats have some serious clawing ahead of them.  U of L was unranked, falling somewhere in the third tier of national universities.

The Commonwealth’s private institutions fared a bit better, though.  Centre (45), Berea (68), and Transylvania (77) all cracked the top-100 schools in the liberal arts category.  Transy and Centre also got top Bellarmine (16) and Murray State (18) were both ranked in top-20 places to get a master’s degree in the south.

UK Student Government Snafu Still Fresh

This commentary courtesy Stephen Shepard, a student at the University in Kentucky. Stephen provides a view of the racist anti-Obama email sent by the school’s student body president and the following public apology which didn’t go as swimmingly as the mainstream press would have us believe.

For those of you who weren’t privileged enough to witness the famous UK Student Government meeting Wednesday (February 07, 2008) you missed quite a performance.

Our UK Student Government (SG) President Nick Phelps presented his “apology” to the students who were offended by the anti-Islamic, anti-atheist, anti-Obama email he sent out January 17th 2008 over our tax-funded UK listserv. Mr. Phelps spoke, giving an apology to those who were offended, and admitted the forwarded email was both untrue and wrong to pass along. And about a minute into his apology was when things began to go terrible wrong. Mr. Phelps quickly changed the topic from how deeply sorry he was, to all of the great things he was doing in Frankfort for UK students. I was stunned with disbelief. Being a McConnell protégé, he attempted to push the issue aside, running from it as if the 30 or so students who had shown up to the SG meeting had anything else on their mind, except the intolerance that our SG exhibited in passing the vile email along. Sadly that wasn’t even the beginning of the insult.

When it came time, I gave my speech, basically saying, this was the second discriminatory event UK had witnessed in less than 6 months and the world was watching. I didn’t call for a censure, and I didn’t call for Nick to resign.

SG Sen. Jesse Parish rose, attempted to give his resignation and urged Mr. Phelps to do so as well. However Mr. Phelps had no such plans. Mr. Phelps went on to say two things that will stick with me. The first was “when I’m on CNN and in public office I’ll look back on this moment fondly.”

Peep the rest after the jump…

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Nick Phelps Apologizes

Nick Phelps, student body president and young republican at the University of Kentucky, has finally apologized for his stupid move to forward a racist e-mail about Barack Obama to other members of student government.

If traffic at Page One over the past two days and social bookmarking activity around the country are any indication, Phelps’ story has been one of the hottest among college students. Yesterday saw our largest amount of traffic to date outside of national press-driven frenzies we’ve caused here and there. A few hundred thousand people stopped by to read up on the debacle.

For background:

BGR has the skinny:

UK Student Government President Nick Phelps apologized at a meeting last night for forwarding his idiotic “Obama as mujahadeen candidate” email, but has refused to resign. An this appears to be an actual apology, not the smart-assed one he gave the following day in the Kernel.

Phelps took some major heat and faces serious obstacles as a result of his actions. But it’s nice to know he has apologized with the following: “I want to fully and unequivocally apologize to anyone I might have offended by my recent actions, but also I want to extend my apologies to the entire student body of the University of Kentucky. My actions were wrong.”

UK’s College Democrats Speak Out

In response to University of Kentucky student body president Nick Phelps’ controversial racist email about Barack Obama, UK’s College Dems have written a letter to him.

We’ve obtained a copy of that letter:

Dear President Phelps,

It has come to our attention that you recently forwarded a defamatory e-mail that was anti-Muslim, anti-Atheist, racist, and overtly partisan, the subject of which was Sen. Barack Obama. We write to you to express our extreme disappointment and also to ask you to resign. We understand that the e-mail was not supposed to reach as far as it did; however, the fact of the matter remains that you put yourself in the position for this email to reach into campus.

The office of Student Body President is a publicly funded position which carries with it considerable responsibility. The main responsibility in our opinion is to represent all UK students at all times. This includes all students, regardless of race, religion, creed, ethnicity, sexual preference, or political affiliation. We feel that you have failed in this responsibility.

Read the rest after the jump…

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Unrest at the University of Kentucky

Note to our new readers from Fark and AlterNet: please visit our front page for the latest on Phelps.

We hear through the grapevine that University of Kentucky’s student body president Nick Phelps (a Republican and McConnell protégé, if it matters to you) sent out a nasty email from his official address spreading falsehoods and all-around racist garbage about presidential hopeful Barack Obama. You know the email. Extremist Muslim this, extremist Muslim that.

Causing quite the uproar on UK’s campus these days. Lots of unrest. Not looking pretty for Phelps or the rest of student government until the matter is dealt with.

Stay tuned…

UPDATE @ Noon:

Turns out the email was sent from a personal address to an official list serv that is paid for by a combination of student fees and taxpayer dollars. Your money at work, Kentuckians.

Reporters from the Herald-Leader are meeting with Phelps at 1:00 this afternoon. He’s saying his nasty falsehood of an email was merely a joke. So it’s not like the guy can claim the excuse that he was snowed into believing such ignorant tripe– he knew it was untrue and used his position in student government to spread hateful falsehoods.

We have obtained a copy of the original email sent by Phelps. It’s completely silly and unbecoming of anyone in a position of leadership to spread around.

UPDATE @ 3:00:

Via BGR, a College Democrat from UK has the following to add:

We are planning a sit-in tomorrow (we, meaning a bunch of the College Democrats) in the Student Government office. I don’t know how well it will go over, since the group that we discussed a course of action with last night seemed more worried about not offending anyone than actually doing anything. The most hateful thing is this: that we as a group of young progressives are too afraid of offending bigots and racists to demand that we all be treated with fairness and justice. And that is my University experience’s biggest failure of all.

UPDATE @ 8:00 P.M.:

Yet another update. UK’s student paper, The Kentucky Kernel, has a story about the situation with an interesting headline: SG president’s anti-Muslim e-mail draws fire: Phelps forwarded message blasting Barack Obama, Muslims to colleagues in SG office. Bunch of interesting comments from University officials and students.

Word also has it that dozens of students will be protesting tomorrow evening’s Student Government meeting at which Phelps will be present.

Peep the email after the jump…

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