By Christia Spears Brown

This op-ed was originally published August 25, 2017 in the Lexington Herald Leader. Original post.

Following Mayor Jim Gray’s announcement about relocating the Confederate statues at Cheapside, Lexington received the attention of national news organizations, and the attention of several racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic hate groups. 

As we brace for their negative


By Gail Hairston

All educational institutions receiving federal funding are required to conduct educational programming about the U.S. Constitution in recognition of Constitution Day, which this year falls on Sept. 17. The University of Kentucky chose Monday, Sept. 18, for its all-day celebration.  

Under the direction of the university’s Office of the President and Office of the Provost, the Office of Academic Excellence led the university’s planning committee with significant contributions from the College of Arts and Sciences. Staff and faculty worked with student organizations and other units on campus to develop a campuswide approach to the celebration of the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizens and to develop habits of citizenship in a new generation of


By Gail Hairston

Two University of Kentucky professors have been awarded funding to help elucidate the mechanism of nicotine addiction and to identify targets for nicotine cessation therapeutics.

The researchers — Assistant Professor Chris Richards in the Department of Chemistry in the UK College of Arts and Sciences and Professor James Pauly in the UK College of Pharmacy — were awarded a $760,000 grant by the National Institutes of Health to pursue their research project titled "Single Molecule Determination of nAChR Structural Assembly for Therapeutic Targeting.”

The consumption of tobacco products is connected to several severe health risks. Smokers have a higher likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and


By Kathy Johnson

What is the proper way to dispose of an American flag? You can find out this week as University of Kentucky Air Force ROTC cadets conduct a flag retirement ceremony at 4:45 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, in front of UK's Main Building.

A special uniformed Honor Guard detail will execute the official disposal of two worn flags — one that flew outside the UK's Main Building and another that was given to the ROTC for retirement.

"A flag retirement ceremony is steeped in honor, decorum and tradition," said ROTC Cadet Dawson Godby, commander of the ceremony.

The ceremony will include cutting and burning the flag in a specific, methodical manner that will be explained by an announcer. Each flag will be disposed of separately.

Per the U.S. Code as it pertains to the flag: "The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no


By Kathy Johnson

On this 16th anniversary of 9/11, the University of Kentucky Army ROTC and Air Force ROTC programs are remembering those who died in the tragic terrorist attacks that rocked the nation. 

Master Sgt. Christopher Mcluckie says UK ROTC cadets in dress uniform are placing small flags in memory of each of the nearly 3,000 victims of 9/11 on the front lawn of UK's Main Building facing South Limestone.  From a podium, cadets will also read the name of each victim throughout the day.

A large flag has also been erected, and a cadet is continually marching in front of the flag carrying a replica rifle until all names have been read.

An annual event, the vigil began at the exact time that the attacks began, 8:42 a.m. and will continue


By Gail Hairston

On Wednesday, Sept. 13, Eugenie C. Scott, a nationally recognized physical anthropologist and an expert on evolution and creationism, will deliver the preliminary address for the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences’ series “Year of Civics and Citizenship in the 21st Century: Keys to our Common Future.”

The title of her lecture is “Evolution and Creationism in Kentucky.”

Scott is a former UK professor of physical anthropology and an educator who has been active in opposing the teaching of young earth creationism and intelligent design in schools. She also taught at University of Colorado and California State University system.

Scott’s lecture is scheduled for 7-8 p.m., Sept. 13, with extended discussion planned 8-9 p.m., in Room 121 of the Don & Cathy Jacobs


By Amy Jones-Timoney and Kody Kiser


From Florida to California, from Alabama to Maine, monuments to the Confederacy have been under increased scrutiny and the subject of efforts to either preserve them or remove them from the grounds they occupy.

In an effort to get more perspective on the swirling controversy around the future of these statues, this week’s episode of "Behind the Blue" features Amy Murrell Taylor, from the Department of History in the UK College of Arts and Sciences. A 2016 winner of the UK Alumni Association’s Great Teacher Award, Taylor’s research focuses on the social and cultural history of the U.S. South in the era of the Civil War and Emancipation.

Taylor’s first book, "The Divided


The Center for Equality and Social Justice is very excited to offer a one-day workshop for interested faculty and staff, and if room allows, graduate students.

Briefly, the Op-Ed Project is designed to train experts to take thought leadership positions in the country. The goal is to help those of us in university settings translate our expertise to change minds and the the world. This is at the core of CESJ’s mission. Each day’s workshop will be a full day of training, plus lunch. Each day will hold 20 people, and they will be here for 3 days. As you can see, after the workshop, participants will have ongoing access to The OpEd Project national network of journalist mentors, for individual feedback. As we think about changing the world toward one of greater social justice, the best way we can do that is by contributing our voices to the conversation. This workshop will help


Discrimination impacts most youth at some point. Almost all children and adolescents belong to at least one stigmatized group, whether they are a Black or Latino boy in school; an immigrant or refugee; a gay, lesbian, or bisexual teen; or a girl in physics class. Discrimination on the basis of race/ethnicity, immigration status, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity can have long-term academic, psychological, and social repercussions, especially when it is directed at a cognitively developing child or an emotionally vulnerable adolescent. How children and adolescents are impacted by this discrimination depends on their cognitive ability to perceive the bias, the context in which the bias occurs, and resources they have to help cope with the bias. 

This book details, synthesizes, and analyzes the perception and impact of discrimination in childhood and


By Whitney Hale


University of Kentucky's SSTOP Hunger: Sustainable Solutions to Overcome Poverty organization will host the university’s first screening of the documentary “Look and See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry.”  The screening, to be followed by a panel discussion, will begin 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13, in Kincaid Auditorium at Gatton College of Business and Economics.

“Look and See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry” is a cinematic account of the changing landscapes and shifting values of rural America in the era of industrial agriculture, as seen through the mind’s eye of writer, farmer and activist Wendell Berry, an alumnus and former faculty member of the UK Department of English.

The first documentary about Berry


By Gail Hairston

The Society of Philosophers in America (SOPHIA), a national nonprofit organization headed by Eric Thomas Weber of the University of Kentucky’s philosophy department, has been awarded the 2017 Prize for Excellence and Innovation in Philosophy Programs. The American Philosophical Association (APA) and the Philosophy Documentation Center (PDC) jointly sponsor the award.

This prize for excellence recognizes philosophy departments, research centers, institutes, societies, publishers and other organizations that risk undertaking new initiatives in philosophy, and do so with excellence and success.

“(The prize) honors the success of these programs so they may inspire and influence others to follow their lead,” said Amy Ferrer, executive director of APA. “(SOPHIA) is truly indicative of the innovation, excellence and inspiration that we


By Gail Hairston

Akiko Takenaka, associate professor of history and associate chair of the University of Kentucky Department of History, has been awarded a 2017-18 Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant to research and write her second book, to be titled “Mothers Against War: Gender, Motherhood, and Grassroots Peace Activism in Postwar Japan, 1945-1970.” She will spend the year in Tokyo with affiliations with Sophia University and Waseda University.

In her research to write the book, Takenaka said, “I look at grassroots peace activism that was initiated by women (of Japan). I’m trying to better understand the ways that Japanese women have gendered their social and political participation.

“In the book, I examine the shifts in ways that the concepts of womanhood and motherhood have been imagined and promoted, and the complex processes through which Japanese women have


By Megan Foltz

Mark P. Whitaker, a professor in the University of Kentucky Department of Anthropology, was awarded multiple grants to assist in funding an ethnographic workshop on innovative religiosity in postwar Sri Lanka that took place this summer. Whitaker received grants from both the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Wenner-Gren Foundation in support of his work. The workshop brought together 17 anthropologists and religious studies scholars at the campus of the Open University of Sri Lanka in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Whitaker’s Workshop on Innovative Religiosity posed the question: “Why have innovative religious practices and institutions in Sri Lanka and its diaspora achieved a new prominence since the end of its inter-ethnic civil war in 2009?”

“This gathering of scholars of Sri Lanka’s many politically and sociologically significant religions —


By Abby Schroering and Sara Shehata

As a land grant university, the University of Kentucky is committed to the advancement of knowledge through research. Even undergraduate students contribute significantly to that mission.

Students of any major, background and skill level have the opportunity to work with professors from all over UK, whether in labs, on faculty projects or even on independent projects that they design themselves.

“For those undergraduates who are interested in building faculty mentorships, gaining critical thinking and presentation skills and deepening their understanding of the subjects that interest them, the UK Office of Undergraduate Research (UGR) is there to help them along the way,” said Evie Russell, assistant director of the UK Office of Undergraduate Research.


By Whitney Hale

 The University of Kentucky Office of Nationally Competitive Awards has announced five of the university's undergraduate students pursued research in their fields of study this summer with funding from the National Science Foundation-Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF-REU) program.

The NSF funds many research opportunities for undergraduate students through its REU Sites program. An REU Site consists of a group of approximately 10 undergraduates who work in the research programs of the host institution. Each student is associated with a specific research project, where he/she works closely with faculty and other researchers. Throughout the NSF-REU program, students are granted stipends and, in many cases, assistance with


By Whitney Hale

Angela Wei, an agricultural and medical biotechnology and mathematics senior from Lexington, was one of five students across the country selected to participate in the 2017 Dartmouth MD/PhD Undergraduate Summer Fellowship Program.

Started in 2012, the Dartmouth MD-PhD Undergraduate Summer Fellowship Program is an initiative aimed at exposing undergraduates, especially members of historically underrepresented ethnic minorities in medical science, to the vibrant career pathway of the physician-scientist.

During the 10-week fellowship, running from mid-June until mid-August, fellows were exposed to basic medical science research working alongside one of Dartmouth’s MD-PhD students presently in the doctoral degree


By Whitney Hale

In the wake of the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, the Kentucky Women Writers Conference continues doing its part to advance dialogue, education and understanding about race and violence here in America through its Sonia Sanchez Series. As part of the series, the conference will present a screening this weekend of the critically acclaimed documentary “13th,” which explores questions of race and mass incarceration, and a few weeks later the Sonia Sanchez Lecture by University of Kentucky law and African-American and Africana studies scholar Melynda J. Price will occur during the September conference. Both events are free and open to the public.

“Now more than ever,


By Gail Hairston


Three nuclear physics researchers in the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences have been awarded a $1.425 million grant from the Department of Energy Office of Science to explore the universe, without slipping "the surly bonds of Earth."

The principal investigator of the grant is Brad Plaster, associate professor and associate chair of the UK Department of Physics and Astronomy, with co-PIs from his department, Professor Wolfgang Korsch and Associate Professor Christopher Crawford.

The grant will support research on the fundamental symmetries of the universe, using neutrons as the experimental probe. The group hopes to observe violations of time reversal symmetry, which


A team of researchers led by Professor Suzanne Segerstrom of the University of Kentucky Department of Psychology has received a $3.3 million grant from the National Institute on Aging to continue its study of healthy aging.

The “Thought, Stress, and Immunity” study has been investigating the interactions between psychological and immunological health among older adults since 2001. Over the next five years, the study will expand to include brain health. 

“Infections and products of the immune system are being recognized as important drivers of brain aging,” Segerstrom said.

“We hope to demonstrate that as the mind and the immune system ‘talk’ to each other, there are consequences for the brain. If that’s true, improving psychological and immunological health could improve brain health and reduce the


By Jennifer T. Allen

University of Kentucky mathematics Assistant Professor Bert Guillou has been awarded funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for his research in homotopy theory. The $139,765 grant over three years will enable Guillou to further the understanding of all of the ways that a sphere can be mapped onto a sphere of a different dimension.

“This project will attempt to classify mappings in two related contexts,” Guillou said. “The first is a rigid world of algebraic geometry, where all objects can be described by polynomial equations. The other is the equivariant setting, where symmetries of the spheres are taken into account.”

Guillou will use recently developed techniques to tighten the connection between these two arenas and extend the range of dimensions in which these mappings can be classified.

“The calculation of the set of


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