Groups protest offensive sign

A group of protesters gathered Thursday morning on central campus in response to a racially offensive sign that was posted on March 24.

“Not only are we responding to (the sign), but we’re responding to the university’s lack of response to the sign,” said Christin Jones, the second vice president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the president of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority.

Approximately 20 people were outside Patterson Office Tower and the Main Building, holding signs that read, “Is this the top 20” and “How do you spell equality — Obama.”

“We just want the university to know that we don’t want to see this happen over and over again because it’s starting to become a trend, and nothing is being done about it,” she said. “So we as a student body are deciding to take it into our hands to voice our opinions.”

More than 13 UK organizations have participated in planning the protest and yesterday’s forum, said Ricky Mason, the president of the National Society of Black Engineers and the secretary for Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

The forum was Thursday at 5 p.m. at the Cats Den. Students voiced their demands about what they want to happen in future situations like this, Jones said.

“My goal of the forum is to address the university with how we feel,” Mason said. “(UK) made a public address on TV, but as far as addressing the student body in general, nothing was done like that. When someone gets robbed on campus, you get that text message or email alert immediately. But with something like this, they don’t inform the students that happened to them. That’s not right.”

Steven Taylor, a graduate student who was at the protest, said he decided to go to the rally to show his support.

“Regardless of the intention of the sign, such discourse is both hateful and anti-intellectual,” Taylor said.

Both signs associated the N-word with President Barack Obama and were posted outside the UK College of Law Building. The first one was posted on March 15 and the second on March 24.

“I feel that the signs were done out of ignorance,” Mason said. “I just would like to educate those who are ignorant to the fact that we are all equal.”

Jones said the groups came together because they decided that they needed to do something about it.

“We’re not trying to be portrayed as angry,” Jones said. “We just want people to be sympathetic to our emotions as well. We understand that the individual who put it up has the right to voice their opinions, but we just want it to be done in a respectful manner. We feel like that was completely uncalled for and completely disrespectful, especially in 2011.”