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Reaction To Protests Draws Rebuke From UK President

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University of Kentucky president Eli Capilouto is condemning what he calls “hate-filled slurs” directed toward peaceful campus protesters this week.

UK senior Monique Rhodes was part of a group of students who gathered at the W.T. Young Library Wednesday to protest the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City with what’s known as a “die-in.” As they began lying down on the floor, she says she remembers a large number of students she hoped were supporters congregating on the balconies.

"And as soon as that happened, I noticed that all the bystanders started laughing, people were pointing, taking videos on their phone, and just making little comments, but of course I couldn't make out what they were saying," she says. "And even throughout the protest people were making paper planes and shooting them at people, throwing loose change onto the ground."

Following the protest, she learned that ugly comments were also popping up on the social media app Yik-Yak, which allows people to share comments with those in the vicinity while keeping their identities private.

"It was just really disheartening. And I personally was discouraged because I was like, 'Man, people really still feel this way and say these things about people,'" Rhodes recalls thinking.

Friday, President Capilouto posted a message on the university’s website expressing support for the protesters and denouncing those who would hurl slurs “for no reason other than to demean another person.”

As for any actions that could be taken by the administration, UK spokesperson Jay Blanton says the university will always look at specific concerns as they're raised within the context of the Student Code of Conduct.

But he cautions that "social media often afford a lot of anonymity."

Rhodes applauds Capilouto’s comments, but she would like to see the university take action by adding anti-racial harassment language to the school’s Code of Conduct.

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