LEXINGTON, Ky. — University of Kentucky officials said they are still reviewing an incident in which a white student is accused of physically assaulting a Black student worker while repeatedly using racial slurs, but they did not say when a decision will be made.
Hundreds of students rallied on campus Monday night, marching and chanting “Protect Black women” and “Speak up, UK,” according to news outlets. Organized by the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, a Black fraternity on campus, students called for unity and for the university to quickly address the situation.
Sophia Rosing, a 22-year-old white student, was charged Sunday with first and second offenses of public intoxication, third-degree assault of a police officer, fourth-degree assault and second-degree disorderly conduct, according to the Fayette County jail website.
She pleaded not guilty during an arraignment Monday afternoon and bonded out of jail later in the day.
The altercation at Boyd Hall was captured on video and posted to multiple social media platforms. Kylah Spring, a freshman working as a desk clerk, says in the video that Rosing hit her multiple times and kicked her in the stomach. Spring said the attack began when she asked Rosing, who appeared to be intoxicated, if she was ok.
Rosing can be heard using racial slurs throughout the video and a police report says she continued using derogatory language even after being taken into custody.
Spring, who was working an overnight shift, never retaliated and said at one point: “I don’t get paid enough for this.”
After police arrived, Rosing “stated that she has lots of money and (gets) special treatment,” an officer said in an arrest affidavit. “When I told her to sit back in the chair, she kicked me and bit my hand.”
The Office for Student Conduct began a review immediately after becoming aware of the incident, and the process for disciplinary proceedings is underway, a statement from the school said.
The process includes interviewing those involved in an incident and could include a formal hearing to consider suspension or expulsion, the school said in a statement. Officials can’t legally comment about the disciplinary status of a student under review, the statement said.
During the rally Monday, Spring told the crowd that she was sad about what happened but that justice would come. She also addressed the woman who is accused of assaulting her.
“You will not break my spirit and you will be held accountable for your actions,” she said “I only pray that you open your heart to love and try to experience life differently and more positively after this.”
Troy Rawlins Jr., who attended the march, said he is angry and disappointed about what happened but glad the university is investigating. He told the Lexington Herald-Leader he hopes for a quick resolution.
“We are here to have our voices be heard so we can effectively combat racism on our campus,” Rawlins said. “We need our voices to be heard. Our voices are falling on deaf ears. The only way we are going to be heard is if we come together.”
The university’s Office for Student Success has offered support services for the victims and University President Eli Capilouto said the video images reflect violence “and a denial of the humanity of members of our community.”
“To be clear: we condemn this behavior and will not tolerate it under any circumstance. The safety and well-being of our community has been — and will continue to be — our top priority,” Capiluto said.