UK Happenings

American Monuments: Kentucky Law Journal Symposium Sets the Legal Stage

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Artwork depicting a silhouette of statue featuring a man on horseback, floral accents in orange, blue and red, as well as a letter written on white paper
Kentucky Law Journal logo in white lettering set on navy blue circle background

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 25, 2019) — The University of Kentucky College of Law will play host to the annual Kentucky Law Journal Symposium, “Written in Stone: American Monuments and Monument-Protection Law,” beginning 8:45 a.m. Friday, Nov. 1. The event is free and open to the public with registration for the day preferred, but not required for attendance.

Symposium presenters range in expertise from social, cultural, racial and American history, the Civil War, political science and humanities, to constitutional law and urban policy. The topic of this year’s symposium explores a national and increasingly divisive debate: legal protection of controversial American monuments and statues.

"Monuments and the laws that protect them divide Americans today as never before,” said Zachary A. Bray, H. Wendell Cherry Associate Professor of Law. "This symposium brings together leaders in the study of these conflicts from local government, the bench and across academia for what promises to be a memorable and enlightening series of conversations. We are delighted to welcome these guests to the College of Law."

The symposium will kick off with a welcome from UK Law interim Dean Mary Davis followed by an opening keynote presentation by Sanford V. Levinson titled “Written in Stone — The Meaning of Public Monuments and Whether They Remain or Go.” The events will conclude with a walking tour of Lexington Cemetery starting 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, led by Phil Maxson of Lex History Tours.

UK presenters comprise current faculty including Vanessa Holden, Kathi Kern, Amy Murrell Taylor, Anastasia Curwood, Melynda J. Price and Zachary Bray. Former Lexington Mayor Jim Gray will present a conversation about the city’s Courthouse Square located downtown. Visiting speakers will feature faculty and public officials from across the country.

The Kentucky Law Journal aims to provide attendees with a collection of diverse perspectives on the controversial topic surrounding the future of monuments across the country.

"Monuments are the way we tell stories of the past and begin to make sense of our collective history," said Melynda J. Price, William L. Matthews, Jr. Professor of Law. "Who and what is memorialized in our public squares has increasingly been called into question. This symposium brings together local and national thinkers to discuss the legal and historical questions that do and should drive this debate."

The Kentucky Law Journal is the 10th oldest law review published by the nation's law schools. Publication has been continuous since 1881. Four issues are published annually by the University of Kentucky College of Law. The journal is edited entirely by a student editorial board, with guidance from a faculty advisor.

Each issue contains articles written by prominent national scholars and notes written by journal members encompassing a broad range of legal topics. 

Today, the Kentucky Law Journal continues to serve the legal and academic community as a forum for dynamic debate surrounding the law. It also provides students an indispensable educational element for high-performing students in the college. By publishing student works, it also functions as a forum for students’ activism.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" two years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.