Senate President David L. Williams (R-Burkesville) visited the University of the Cumberlands yesterday as reported by the Lexington-Herald Leader, to officially announce that the university will receive $11 million in coal severance money to start a pharmacy school. Ten million dollars will be for a building and $1 million will be for scholarships.
The university expelled a student in April for revealing he was gay on myspace.com. The Kentucky Equality Association, and other advocacy groups as well as members of the House and Senate urged Governor Fletcher to veto the $10 million dollar funding to build a new pharmacy school. The Governor has yet to announce his intentions.
“The commonwealth funding money to build a new pharmacy at a private university that isn’t open to everyone is unacceptable,” stated Nancy Couch, association media correspondent for the Kentucky Equality Association. “Whether the money came from coal severance or taxes is ‘splitting hairs;’ the source of the funds is irrelevant, the money belongs to every citizen of the commonwealth and giving it to a university that practices discrimination would prevent all Kentuckians from enjoying it. According to the Constitution of Kentucky all people are, by nature, free and equal, and have certain inherent and inalienable rights. To me that means everyone should have the right to attend any school funded by our government.”
The Kentucky Equality Association would like to remind Senator Williams that he cannot guarantee the university will receive the funding unless the Governor has privately told him that he will not veto it.
“Here’s the bottom line, we will not set back and watch our government give money to a school to build a pharmacy program that isn’t available to everyone in Kentucky,” stated Jordan Palmer, association president. “If the university receives this money, then we’ll just have to let a judge decide the constitutionality of it.”