Don’t like drastic tuition increases?

Hey there, everyone, I hope all is well. There sure is a lot going on right now, and I know all of you are just as busy as I am. Keep up the hard work; Spring Break is here in just three weeks.

This is my first column since the e-mail situation was reported in the Kernel, so I want to make sure I cover some bases. Again, to those students who found my forwarding of the e-mail offensive and hurtful, I want you to know I am sorry, and I apologize. I have learned some life lessons, and my eyes have been opened on matters that I have never really seen before.

Over the past two weeks, I have received hundreds of notes, letters and calls of support from students, university officials, community members and public figures, and they have all meant a lot. But what have been more special are the meetings with students, hearing their feelings and opinions while figuring what we do from this point so that we can prevent similar happenings in the future.

The events occurred because of my lack of awareness and sensitivity to certain students’ beliefs. But in my last two months, I will stir discussions, set up new programs and lead talks to help future student leaders be more prepared.

In a meeting with the Muslim Student Association executive officers on Friday, we identified some starting places, and I thank them for their hard work and tolerance. I will keep in touch through columns and other resources about our goals and progress. Uniting is the key in the discussion on diversity, and we will.

DanceBlue, one of UK’s most successful events, is fast approaching again. It is an event in which the UK community unites for the children treated at the Pediatric Oncology Department at the UK Children’s Hospital. I ask that you visit this week and make a last-second donation or sign up for a few hours of volunteering at the event. It starts at 7 p.m. Friday at Memorial Coliseum and lasts until 7 p.m. Saturday. I will be there on my feet for 24 hours, so come see me!

Come to Frankfort with me on Wednesday for the Rally for Higher Education. We have buses and vans, but you can drive if you want. The bus will leave at 12:30 p.m. from the Student Center, so come to the Student Government office and sign up, or message us through the Web site ( The rally will start at 1:30 p.m., and we will hear from state leaders, including Gov. Steve Beshear, before it wraps up at 2:15 p.m. UK Provost Kumble R. Subbaswamy has asked teachers to be very lenient on your absences, and SG will have notes for all of you proving your attendance.

It is my hope the Kernel will step it up and spread the word about the devastating budget cuts about to occur. You would think if a dozen students at “I Love Mountains Day” in Frankfort got front page coverage, the millions of dollars UK is about lose would receive constant coverage.

Because of deficits and some other troubles, there is a proposed budget cut of 10 to 12 percent at UK. What some don’t realize is there had already been a 3 percent cut this semester, so UK could lose up to 15 percent of its allocated state money.

Now, to give you a clear picture, these cuts would take UK back to funding levels of the late 1990s, and this isn’t a one-year cut. UK may lose $50 million or more for good each year from here on out. This may lead to scholarships being cut drastically, staff and maybe even faculty being laid off, fewer student workers being hired on campus, and tuition going up significantly. I know many of you are like me in that the only scholarship we had coming into college was Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship from our state government, and they are proposing a cut in it as well!

Students, its time to make some noise; come help us do just that!

Nick Phelps is the president of UK Student Government. E-mail [email protected]