Challenging year ahead for student government


Rowan Reid (left) and Ben Childress (right) speak during a SGA Town Hall at Memorial Hall on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Joel Repoley | Staff.

Will Wright [email protected]

A formidable year awaits the soon-to-be-elected president and vice president of UK’s Student Government Association. 

Steep cuts from Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed budget loom over the heads of administrators, and minority students are rallying to implement changes to make campus more welcoming for minority students. 

SGA presidential candidate Rowan Reid and vice presidential candidate Ben Childress largely focused on these two issues at a town hall in Memorial Hall on Tuesday. 

Reid said that with the proposed cuts, which will likely lead to higher tuition, it is “necessary now more than ever” for SGA to help find solutions. 

They proposed boosting funding for scholarships and childcare grants, but Reid also said she would not advocate to stop all tuition increases. 

While tuition should not rise too much, she said without tuition increases, degrees could become less valuable. UK must make up for state cuts to perform to the highest ability, she said. 

The current SGA administration of Austin Mullen is working to stop or lessen the cuts. SGA will host tables where they will give students phone numbers of state legislators so students and their parents can voice concerns. 

What would be even better, Mullen said, is if students went to their legislators’ offices. 

“When it’s a constituent they represent … they are much more receptive,” Mullen said. 

Mullen said that along with rallying students against the budget cuts, SGA will work with UK administrators to make campus more inclusive.

Reid and Childress rescheduled their town hall Tuesday to not conflict with the UK Call To Action Town Hall, where black students called for diversity initiatives. 

The candidates plan to expand the SGA Student Coalition for Diversity & Inclusion, and to work more closely with minority student groups. 

“We’re … focused on enacting policy change that will kind of change the campus culture,” Reid said. “To change a culture, it takes time, but it’s our hope that by promoting all these different initiatives, … students will become more open and aware of how their actions and words affect other people.”