LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A white University of Kentucky student is accused of physically assaulting a Black student worker while repeatedly using racial slurs, officials said.
The student was arrested Sunday at a residence hall and charged with assault, alcohol intoxication in a public place and disorderly conduct, according to the Fayette County jail. She pleaded not guilty during an arraignment Monday afternoon.
The university said in a statement Sunday that a “disturbing incident” was captured on video in a residence hall. In the video, the female student worker says the other woman hit her multiple times and kicked her in the stomach.
An arrest citation filled out by campus police said the suspect repeated a racial slur to a group of Black females and kept repeating the slur after she was detained, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.
The student employee was working an overnight shift at the front desk of Boyd Hall, the university said. At one point in the video she says, “I don't get paid enough for this.”
University President Eli Capiluto said he has reached out to offer support to the victims while officials conduct an immediate review.
“From my view of a video of the incident, the student worker acted with professionalism, restraint and discretion,” his statement said.
He said the video images reflect violence “and a denial of the humanity of members of our community."
“To be clear: we condemn this behavior and will not tolerate it under any circumstance. The safety and well-being of our community has been — and will continue to be — our top priority," Capiluto said.
The victim, Kylah Spring, shared her story on multiple social media platforms and asked people to help spread it.
“This is a story that needs to be shared. This is something that needs to be talked about because this is not only happening on my campus, this is happening at universities all across the nation," she said. "We, as students of color, we should not have to face this type of discrimination. We should not have to face this type of violence.”
She said she tried to handle the situation with a sensible approach so no one could fault how she responded.
“I feel like the way I handled the situation is the way it should have been handled. Violence is not always the answer and I know that sounds so disheartening when we face all of these things all the time. We're just expected to continue to rise above the circumstance, and continues to rise above the situation, but like Michelle Obama said ‘When they go low, we go high.’”