The University of Kentucky has seen an uptick in reports of racial and ethnic slurs or assaults made on campus in the week since Donald Trump was elected president.
Spokesman Jay Blanton said nine such reports had been made to the Bias Incident Support Services office since Tuesday, which is “significantly more than we might see in a normal week.”
He said the mostly anonymous reports included racial and ethnic slurs being shouted at people on campus.
Two reports, though, constituted assaults based on religion or ethnicity and were turned over to UK Police, Blanton said. One involved the use of pepper spray on a Hispanic student and the other was an allegation of a traditional headscarf being ripped off a Muslim student, he said.
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The incidents prompted President Eli Capilouto to send out a campuswide email urging civil discussion.
“We are home to Trump voters and Clinton voters and those who feel marginalized from the political process,” Capilouto wrote. “So, we must — as a campus and community — be a place that respectfully engages in courageous conversations about our differences.”
At the same time, he noted, the UK community must “strongly condemn any behavior designed to create a community of hostility, aggression and exclusion for anyone, regardless of identity, race or belief. To that end, those who are motivated by hate and bigotry to create an environment of harassment or threat will be held accountable to the fullest extent possible.”
Last week, a protest against Trump at Western Kentucky University turned into a brawl between protesters and supporters of the president-elect. On Sunday, Trump appointed Steven Bannon, the editor of the right-wing Breitbart.com, as chief strategist, a move praised by former KKK leader David Duke and other white nationalists. Also on Sunday, Trump told “60 Minutes” that he would deport between 2 and 3 million immigrants with criminal records who are in the country illegally.