October 27, 2009: Action Speaks Out Against UK Alliance with Coal

Press Release from Kentucky Mountain Justice:

Lexington, KY– Early this morning, Kentucky Mountain Justice organizers made a bold statement about the proposed “Wildcat Coal Lodge” by hanging a banner from Memorial Coliseum. The banner, reading ‘University of Coal? Or University of Kentucky?’, along with the Mountain Justice website, criticized a recent decision by UK’s housing board to accept “Coal” in the name of a new athletics facility.

This decision came after the university received a $7 million donation from Joe Craft and friends, of Alliance Coal, to rebuild the Wildcat Lodge. The controversial name is due to a stipulation in the donation, requiring the word “coal” in the name of the new building. Considering the recent trends to move to more sustainable energies in our country and abroad, as well as the continued controversy over mountaintop removal and similar mining practices, this public relations effort of the Coal Industry comes as little surprise. Gaining a lasting “brand” on an institution as influential as the University of Kentucky is certain to prove profitable for the industry. Unfortunately, the alliance further regresses the University’s standing as a progressive and “green” campus, despite their touted aspirations.

The measures taken this morning were clearly directed to the University Board of Trustees, who will decide today at 1:00pm whether or not to accept the building’s proposed name. Students and community members alike are expected to rally at the meeting, in hopes of discouraging this name change, and hold the Board accountable for their representation of the campus community.

According to the website displayed on the banner, www.mountainjusticesummer.org, Mountain Justice is a pan-Appalachian movement and call to action for people to stand up against the final destruction of our life supporting ecosystems – mountain range removal.

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