Klan Visits UofL Campus

By Craig Hoffman

(LOUISVILLE, September 7th, 2004, 6:30 p.m.) -- The Ku Klux Klan has promised to assemble every week on UofL's campus until its demands are met. On Tuesday a crowd gathered around Klan members as they handed out literature. WAVE 3's Craig Hoffman reports.

As leaders of Kentucky's Ku Klux Klan handed out literature at UofL Tuesday, they tried to explain their side of the story. "We are upset and say the school is anti-white," said James Kennedy, a Grand Wizard with the Invisible Empire of the KKK. "Its diversity programs show only one side, not two."

Security was beefed up after Klan leaders applied for and received a permit to assemble on campus. They were placed in one of two free speech zones and told they could gather for no more than two hours.

Curious students looked on, and some exchanged words with the two of the members who turned out to pass out brochures. "I don't like it that they are here, said student Kathryn Honegger. "It may be their First Amendment right, but their message of hate is not what this university stands for."

Justin Morehead, a member of UofL's Student Government Association echoed Honegger's concern. "I don't agree with them, they shouldn't be here, but I guess that is their right. What they stand for, the violence, hate, and what has happened over so many years, their message is just wrong."

Morehead, an African-American student from Bowling Green, Ky., was the first student to confront the Klansmen. "I grabbed the literature, listened, and told them where I stand. We (student government) agreed when we learned they would be out, to mostly ignore them, to do nothing," he added.

Kennedy said he doesn't "approve of violence, but I have a right to be heard. This university has brought anti-white speakers in here, so I am here for the other side. We don't want to disturb the kids' education, or go into the classrooms. That is why were are out here, peacefully handing out literature."

Kennedy promised to return every week until the school re-builds several kiosks that were removed. He said the kiosks allowed all groups to display literature.

Rae Goldsmith, UofL's Vice President of Communications and Marketing, says that's not likely to happen. "They (the kiosks) were old and outdated. We now have the Internet and other means to communicate to students and campus groups. If the Klan wants to come out again, we have a permit process, just like they got today."

Smith added: "We don't approve of them being here, but the Constitution gives them that right. But any group must meet the guidelines, and all permits must be approved by the university in advance."

Online Reporter: Craig Hoffman

Online Producer: Michael Dever