Student body presidential candidate can help alleviate UK’s cultural, fiscal woes

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.


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UK is sitting in the center of two crossroads, and no one knows which direction the university will go.

At one intersection, President Eli Capilouto and other administrators are staring at a governor ready to slash UK’s state general funds by 4.5 percent this year and 9 percent the next.

At the other is a large portion of the student body, fed up with racial harassment and discrimination that leaves minority students feeling unwelcome and unwanted on campus.

The question: Will the Student Government Association find a way to make a difference?

SGA welcomed at a town hall in Memorial Hall its presidential candidate Rowan Reid and her running mate Ben Childress.

The duo brought substantive plans to the table to help deal with these two issues pressing UK, and seemed excited and ready to make impact.

Reid, an economics and management junior, and the deputy chief of staff of SGA, said it will not be easy to overcome and provide solutions for Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed budget, especially if she and Childress are acting alone.

SGA has already been lobbying in Frankfort to stop or lessen the cuts to UK, and will continue to do so. But that will not be enough.

Reid, if she wants to make impact in stopping these cuts, with the leadership of current SGA President Austin Mullen, will need the support of the entire student body.

In an interview after the town hall, Reid said SGA can help rally students to call their legislators and voice their concerns about the cuts. SGA could make change by leading this push, and should call on the student body to voice their anger to legislators.

Student voices will be crucial if the campus wants to see improvements in diversity and inclusion, too.

The SGA town hall was rescheduled to not conflict with the UK Call To Action Town Hall in the Singletary Center on Monday. This was a commendable move on SGA’s part, and it seems that Reid and Childress will do their best to make UK more welcoming for minority students.

By expanding the Student Coalition for Diversity and Inclusion, the president-elect hopes to connect student government to people all across campus, including minority groups.

This is a good start, and hopefully Reid and Childress will be strong voices for the recruitment and retention of black students and faculty, and for minority mentoring programs for graduate students.

The upcoming year will be important for Kentucky’s flagship university, both fiscally and culturally. SGA, through the leadership of Childress and Reid, has the opportunity to be leaders of student activism and unity on a campus facing an uncertain future.