UK students bring life, energy to city, should be appreciated

Have you ever been to Lexington in the summer?

If you haven’t, don’t come. It’s terrible.

The streets are empty, and there is a feeling of general loneliness permeating everything in the whole city.

Let’s face it: Lexington would be nothing without the undergraduate students who are here from August until May. Therefore, it’s unfortunate that Lexington’s leaders treat us like a problematic nuisance that must be contained.

I certainly hope you’ve heard the story by now. City Councilman David Stevens proposed housing regulations that would allow no more than three non-related students to live together and that would not allow any student home to be within 180 feet of another student home, according to the Kernel’s coverage.

The University Area Housing Commission reported that this would render 75 percent of housing around the university ineligible for student occupation, the Kernel reported.

Stevens says he proposed these housing regulations in order to “provoke discussion” and that he wasn’t serious in proposing it. And speaking of discussion, there was a public meeting that took place for this discussion — which occurred the day before students were let out for Thanksgiving Break.

The leaders of Lexington have totally cut undergraduate students out of the discussion about their housing, despite the fact that undergraduate students are the economic engine that drives the city of Lexington.

I wonder if Stevens has ever been to a place like Ashland, Elizabethtown or Owensboro. Here we have cities that are of decent size but have no significant student population. Because of this, they have one movie theater, maybe a few coffee shops and an extremely limited bar scene. They are nice communities, but they lack any sort of urban appeal.

Maybe you see my point. Without the students, this is what Lexington would become.

I have a confession to make. I am from Louisville.

Honestly, I love it there. I’m sorry if that offends anyone.

One of the things I was most surprised about when I moved to Lexington was how much this city depends on the university.

I often tell people that they will never truly understand the UK-University of Louisville rivalry until they visit Louisville.

In Louisville, the city is independent enough from U of L so that folks are able to root for either UK or

U of L.

In Lexington, the city is so tied to the university that it is nearly unconscionable for anyone to be a U of L fan.

Honestly, it seems that every family in the city of Lexington is tied to UK in some way — either directly as a staff member or professor, or as a person whose employer or firm depends on the business of the university in some way.

Now, I believe that the leaders of Lexington love UK.

Honestly, why shouldn’t they? UK is what makes Lexington great.

However, I think that the leaders in Lexington don’t realize that UK is great because of its students. They have totally disregarded us in this housing regulations discussion, despite the obvious truth that they depend on us for the survival of our city.

I certainly hope that these leaders realize this sooner than later and realize that a few burning couches are a small price to pay for all that Lexington receives from the undergraduate students at UK.

Robert Kahne is the president of UK College Democrats. E-mail [email protected].