President-Elect Donald Trump inspires teach-in


Teach in Trump at University of Kentucky in Lexington, Ky. on Wednesday,January 18, 2017. Photo by Josh Mott | Staff.

Blake Blevins

UK students, faculty and staff, as well as members of the Lexington community gathered in Blazer Dining for a teach-in on the approaching presidency of Donald Trump, hosted by a group of UK graduate students.

The program took place between 12 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on the upper two floors of Blazer Dining.

The event was organized in conjunction with approximately 25 other schools as part of a nation-wide day of similar programs to educate the community on the upcoming Trump presidency, according to graduate student Curtis Pomilia.

The tradition of teach-ins started in the early 1960s as part of anti-war efforts, and has since been used to raise awareness for a slew of issues, like today’s political standings.

When asked of the nature of this particular teach-in, graduate student Manon Lefèvre said, “It’s a day of sessions on all different topics during which people lead discussions or presentations on what they care about.”

Sessions included topics such as “Appalachia in the Current Political Landscape,” “Normalization of Overt Racism and Discrimination through Islamophobia,” “Basic Electronic Security for Academics and Activists” and “Campus Sexual Assault.”

Graduate student Eric Huntley hosted a session titled “Climate Denial and the Trump Administration: A Field Guide.”

“This session is set up to establish a collection of arguments used by climate change deniers and assess how valid those arguments are,” Huntley said.

Lefèvre claimed no one was denied a request to present at the event for any reason short of all slots being filled. “It was open to the community. It’s not about being politically affiliated. It’s about bringing what you care about to the table,” Lefèvre said.

“People are here from all different disciplines,” Pomilia said.          

Despite the teach-in being closely affiliated with a group of graduate students who were responsible for planning the event, it was also supported by various student organizations on campus, like the Martin Luther King Center, who helped secure space for the event, according to Huntley.

According to UK’s Student Government Association President Rowan Reid, $750 was allocated for the event through the general funding grant process, which is open to all student organizations.

“One of the main functions of SGA is to fund the passions and interests of our students though these student organizations. This project helps fulfill that purpose,” Reid said in an official statement. “It is our hope that this event will encourage diverse participation and dialogue that will benefit all students.”

Participants convened for closing remarks by Dr. Carolyn Finney, following the day’s sessions.