SG president's anti-Muslim e-mail draws fire
Pat Terrell, vice president for student affairs at UK, said ...that the e-mail was deeply disappointing."It perpetuated offensive stereotypes regarding race, religion and ethnicity that have no place in civil discourse or on a university campus where values of tolerance and mutual respect should be cherished," Terrell said in the statement. "While not a violation of student code, and therefore not a disciplinary matter, this incident is one that we take seriously."Then Phelps...apologized...sorta...in the fourth paragraph of a rambling column...
Before I talk about the mess in Frankfort, I want to touch on something real quick. A student leader told me that some students were upset by an e-mail that I sent to my executive staff. I told the leader to tell those students to come talk to me, but none have so far. If you are one, please message me. I would love to talk to you about the matter, and I apologize if anyone felt offended; but after we talk, I am sure you will understand. Thanks.The Kentucky Kernel responded with, "EDITORIAL: Phelps can't duck public scrutiny over hateful e-mail"
...his actions reflect a startling lack of professionalism, to say the least. As an elected official, Phelps must know that his actions, including those outside his formal duties as SG president, are subject to public scrutiny.Sending an inflammatory e-mail without any kind of disclaimer or explanation is grossly irresponsible...Then he sorta apologized again before the Student Government:
Phelps apologizes for anti-Muslim e-mail
Student Government President Nick Phelps opened [Wednesday]'s SG meeting with a public apology, saying he never intended to offend students with an e-mail he forwarded that described Barack Obama as a Muslim and derided the religion.But in matters of personal character, criticisms are always personal. It's unavoidable. Finally, responding to calls for his resignation, Phelps delivered this thunderbolt of self-delusion:
"I was wrong in sending out and forwarding the e-mail," Phelps said... "And I was wrong to not realize the implications of my actions."
About 30 non-SG students attended the meeting. Many students who spoke called for action by the Senate to either impeach or censure Phelps. German senior Rob Colston said he met with Phelps earlier in the day and felt Phelps was not genuine in his apology. Colston asked the Senate to take some sort of action."Removal might be a little extreme, but a censure is my recommendation," Colston said. "(Senators) are bound in duty to uphold accountability so this road is not taken again."
In the apology, Phelps said he would be working to improve diversity at UK.
Lauren Biggs, a classics and history senior, said Phelps didn't seem to understand the issue of diversity on campus."It really bothers me that in this apology he spoke of two sides to the issue," Biggs said. "In campus diversity there is only one side. I feel (senators) as a body should consider removing him from office."
SG Attorney General Beau Baustien said the concerns about diversity on campus were being turned into a personal attack on Phelps' character."Punishments are handled in context, and we'd like to punish Nick for an institution of racism that is, by no fault of his own, here (on campus)," Baustien said. "I feel like everything tonight has been an attack on his character." ...
"I appreciate the honest feedback," Phelps said. "I will sleep wonderful tonight knowing something I've done sparked this reaction and a positive force from this campus."Right. Heckova job, Nicky.
PageOne weighs in here.