Man calls on governor to intervene in grad school case


Myron Guthrie on Thursday, September 8, 2016 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Quinn Foster | Staff

Bailey Vandiver

Nearly a year after applying to and being accepted by UK, a man still has not been able to start graduate classes.

Since moving to Lexington last May, Myron Guthrie has become a Fayette County Schools substitute teacher, a WRFL employee and a soon-to-be grandfather. What he has not become is an official UK graduate student.

Guthrie has worked as a producer in various fields and wants to obtain a masters degree in journalism. Executive Director of UK Public Relations and Marketing Jay Blanton said that Guthrie was accepted as a post-baccalaureate student but was never admitted into a specific graduate program.

Guthrie and NAACP Lexington branch President Adrian Wallace held a press conference Friday afternoon.

Guthrie reached out to Wallace and the NAACP in November. The two men have since pursued a solution with the Kentucky Attorney General and Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.

“They asked us to go back to the university to try to remedy this internally,” Wallace said.

Wallace and Guthrie held a 10-minute meeting with UK representatives Friday afternoon. The university admitted its mistake in Guthrie’s admission process but denied any liability in the situation.

“When the institution discovered that his credits would not transfer because he had an undergraduate degree from an online school that did not meet UK’s accreditation standards, we immediately apologized for the error and offered – on several occasions – to work with him to take the classes needed to become eligible for a graduate program at UK,” Blanton said in a statement.

Wallace said that trying to fix the problem internally is not working.

“So we’re calling on the governor today to investigate the issue on Mr. Guthrie’s behalf,” Wallace said.

Wallace said that the governor can intervene “exactly” as he did at the University of Louisville concerning the Board of Directors.

Wallace said that for UK to remedy this situation, it needs to either pay for the classes Guthrie needs to take to become eligible for the graduate program or reimburse Guthrie for the cost of moving his family to Kentucky.

Guthrie began his remarks by reading the excerpt of Frank X. Walker’s poem displayed in W. T. Young Library.

Guthrie saw the poem while in the library, and he said “it grabbed me.”

The poem is about diversity, but Guthrie said he questions whether diversity is really promoted here at UK.

“Yet I did come here to go to school, and I intend to do that,” Guthrie said.

Wallace said that the NAACP has received “a plethora” of complaints about UK in the past.

“We have a long way to go in Kentucky as a whole, but especially even here at the university,” Wallace said.

UK has said that this situation is unprecedented, and Wallace suggested that perhaps it is no coincidence that the first time is with an older, black student.

“I don’t know what that says,” Wallace said. “I think it speaks for itself.”

Guthrie mentioned that he is neither a basketball or football player, but he does have a bachelor’s degree.

“I believe that race may have played a part in it,” Guthrie said. “Everything was fine until I showed up.”

Guthrie said he received three acceptance letters in five months before coming to campus.

Guthrie said that he has faith that something will happen with his situation soon.

“My family’s a praying family,” Guthrie said. “We pray on it daily.”

“We stand ready to work with Mr. Guthrie to help him accomplish his goals for himself and his family, if he will work with us to do so,” Blanton said.