Student newspaper seeks $15,000 for legal battle with University of Kentucky

The Kentucky Kernel hopes to raise $15,000 for a legal battle against the university administration over the release of records concerning alleged sexual misconduct by a professor.

A GoFundMe campaign to support the student newspaper that began Friday night had raised $5,470 by Sunday afternoon.

In the past, the Kernel has relied on the legal defense fund of the Kentucky Press Association to fight open records lawsuits.

UK president Eli Capilouto announced in August that the university would appeal an opinion by the Kentucky attorney general’s office that records should be released to the Kentucky Kernel regarding an allegation of sexual assault on a student by a UK professor.

Reporter and UK student Will Wright said Saturday the Kernel, an independent non-profit, believes the documents UK is refusing to release shed light on how UK handles accusations of sexual assault on campus.

The Kernel staff is ready to report the story but needs financial assistance to fight the administration, he said. Ninety people had made donations of $5 to $500 during the first day of the campaign. Wright said he is optimistic the campaign can reach the $15,000 mark.

“It’s amazing how much support we’ve seen in just the past few hours,” he said. “We’re all so grateful to everyone who has contributed.”

The Herald-Leader is also wrangling with UK over open records and open meetings violations. The current case involves records concerning a Hazard cardiology practice that UK once owned.

The Kernel’s case is getting some coverage nationally. CNN had a story on its website, and Buzzfeed has also covered the story.