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Kentucky Kernel

The Student News Site of University of Kentucky

Kentucky Kernel

The Student News Site of University of Kentucky

Kentucky Kernel

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EDITORIAL: UK must protect those who cannot protect themselves

UK head coach Lars Jorgensen hugs signee Madison Winstead after she swam the 100m breaststroke during the UK’s “Sun Shall Shine” Blue and White meet at Lancaster Aquatic Center in , Ky. on Friday, April 22, 2016. Photo by Michael Reaves | Staff.

Seven years ago, the University of Kentucky allowed a professor to resign after being investigated for sexual harassment and assault allegations before a Title IX investigation was completed.

On June 28, 2023, it happened again.

UK’s head swim and dive coach Lars Jorgensen was allowed to resign in the summer of 2023 despite being under an initial Title IX investigation for abusive and inhumane coaching tactics. During the investigation, Title IX officials learned he had allegedly “groomed, sexually harassed and sexually assaulted” swimmers and staff, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court on April 12, 2024.



This has to stop. 

The lawsuit, which names UK athletic director Mitch Barnhart, former head coach Gary Conelly, UK and Jorgensen, accuses the university of knowing about and being indifferent to alleged actions of repeated sexual assault and rape by Jorgensen.

Why does it seem that as soon as a Title IX investigation reaches a certain level in these two cases that the university is more than willing to allow them to resign? And we wonder how many other instances have happened in prior years that the university has been, as noted in the lawsuit, “aggressively discouraging students and employees from filing reports.”

Title IX, a law enacted to prohibit sex-based discrimination in educational institutions, is meant to protect, first and foremost, those who are not in a position of power and cannot protect themselves.

The Kentucky Kernel editorial board demands a better process in which Title IX cases are handled and for the investigation to be finished without the person under review having the opportunity to resign.  

Also, anyone who knew, allowed or ignored Jorgensen’s alleged actions and didn’t help potential victims should be fired.

President Eli Capilouto, it should be your mission to rid your institution of anyone who does not take such allegations seriously, even if that means firing your very own athletic director. 

Then, UK could have the potential to lessen the number of people being abused or mistreated at our university and maybe one day reach a point where things could change.

Until this happens, the university must act with compassion and the truth as their number one obligation if they wish to stand as “Kentucky’s flagship institution.”

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    Pearl JamesApr 24, 2024 at 11:10 am

    When UK students occupied the Main Building a few years ago to protest the mural in Memorial Hall and the fact that many students are unhoused and hungry, UK covered the mural, stopped holding classes in Memorial Hall, and created a basic needs center. There is a precedent for students showing the administration what they care about and the administration responding.