Over the weekend, a photo surfaced from Kentucky's 139th Fancy Farm picnic that included paper-cut out tombstones for various KY politicians. The signs were positioned closely to a Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) RV, which prompted the following tweet from the organization:
"KFB has visited events across the state celebrating our centennial year, including Fancy Farm. A photo of a political display with our trailer in the background has surfaced from the event. KFB is non-partisan and not affiliated with that display or any other campaign promotions."
This tone-deaf response, absent of any genuine remorse or criticism, would be considered foul on any day. Though, for a country still mourning the bloodshed created by similar violent speech, this is especially sickening.
Albeit sickening, this insensitivity is to be expected. According to the 2018 KFB Handbook, the organization proudly promotes dangerous, discriminatory policies against the LGBTQ* community, women, educators, and workers.
While it is long overdue, a stand must be taken.
Those signing this petition challenge the University of Kentucky to divest itself of Kentucky Farm Bureau, including athletic sponsorships. The Commonwealth's land-grant university should not be a pedestal for a group that hopes to harm or disenfranchise so many Kentuckians. Doing so undermines any and all efforts to make UK a university where everyone belongs.
This petition is made while realizing the importance of private partnerships for higher education institutions. Even so, we stifle genuine progress when we talk out of both sides of our mouth.
Kentucky Farm Bureau has no place in the University of Kentucky legacy. We ask President Eli Capilouto and the Board of Trustees to make this known.
Ultimately, there will be those who wrongly interpret this is as a liberal attack on conservative American values. To those, we ask for a better, deeper understanding of the greatest traditional value: love your neighbor as yourself.