Western Kentucky University’s Student Government Association passed a resolution on Tuesday that expressed support for paying reparations to black students.
The resolution asks WKU to create a task force in order to “assess the feasibility of test-optional admissions and geographically-weighted admissions.” In particular, they cited research and studies showing that an admissions process that uses standardized test scores “restricts the college opportunities for needy students, helping higher education perpetuate inequality.”
On Thursday afternoon, WKU President Gary Ransdell responded in a statement.
“Student success is an important ongoing discussion at Western Kentucky University, and the recruitment, persistence and success of underrepresented minority students is a daily focus across this institution,” Ransdell wrote.
“We appreciate the Student Government Association’s interest in these issues, but it’s important to clarify that their resolution is not an official position taken by the University. I have read the SGA resolution, and I understand that their intent was to spark a conversation, but the University will not adopt any such policy. I’ve spent much of the last year engaging in dialogue with black student leaders on campus, which has led to a greater understanding and appreciation of their experiences and priorities. Our goal is to ensure that WKU is both a welcoming place and a place that focuses on persistence and success.”
However, Randsdell said, the university would support low-income and first-generation college students.
“As we continue to work through elements of the campus diversity plan and on our recruitment and student success initiatives, we will focus on those things that help all students succeed,” he wrote. “We will direct resources, energy and effort toward those methods that are responsible, practical and proven to achieve student success, with a particular focus on underrepresented minorities, low-income and first generation college students.”