Apr 272011

By Joan Braune

Mountaintop removal has led to poisoned drinking water, deadly avalanches, and unemployment in Appalachian communities. The recurring blasts shake homes, destroy graveyards and other important sites, and irreparably flatten the beautiful mountains and forests, some of the oldest in the world. Residents of the region are often left feeling as though they are living in a war zone. In a constant drive for profit, coal companies treat coalfield residents as collateral damage, “externalities” that do not need to be taken into account. Continue reading »

Apr 272011

UK’s statistical blame game

There’s a certain power inherent in numbers and statistics. They have a way to solidify ideas, give them density. Rhetorically, statistics are like concrete piers, heavy anchors for thought.

Take the examples of UK’s recent tuition and salary increases. Lee Todd and Public Relations Director Jay Blanton have been quick to place the proposed 6% increase in student tuition alongside declining state support for higher education and a faculty salary increase averaging 3%. UK’s anchor stat has been a comparison of the state’s 2007/08 contribution ($335.1 million) to the school’s operating budget against its 2011/2012 contribution ($303.4 million)—“an almost 10 percent decline” in state funding, the Herald-Leader duly reported on April 20. Continue reading »

Nov 242010

By Danny Mayer

“Organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy.”

—Matt Taibbi

Meeting 1

On Monday October 25, Bill Shelton, whom the Lexington Herald-Leader described as a “former Michigan educator who is now at the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges,” informed the University of Kentucky Board of Regents that they should be prepared to pay more for their next president. Less than two months earlier, as a retirement gift to outgoing UK CEO/President Lee Todd, the board had increased his presidential salary at the university nearly $200,000, to an annual salary of $511,000. The regents even backdated payments one year. Continue reading »

Feb 282010

Looking back 40 years later

By Richard Becker

Editor’s note: This will be the first of a four-part story that looks back at the unfolding events of May 1970 at the University of Kentucky, when students and faculty voiced opposition to the destructive actions of their national and campus leaders. When all was said and done in Lexington, the National Guard had set up base on the university campus while, at the same time, students were banned from going on it; an aging former governor was made into a state folk hero for punching an unsuspecting student; and an unoccupied ROTC building was mysteriously burned to the ground.

This May will mark the fortieth anniversary of the killing by members of the U.S. National Guard of four students at Kent State University. On a local note, it will be the fortieth anniversary of the University of Kentucky’s response to the events at Kent State. For several days in the spring of 1970, UK, a bastion of political conservatism and, at times, simple apathy, was effectively shut down by students and community members who were moved to demonstrate against the United State’s illegal escalation of the Vietnam War into Cambodia and, later, the violent response of the State to university demonstrators in Ohio who protested the escalation. Continue reading »