Donors want 'coal' in name of University of Kentucky dorm

A group of donors who have put up $7 million for a new residence for the University of Kentucky men's basketball team have required that "Coal" be its middle name.

On Tuesday, the board of trustees will take up a recommendation from UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. to approve what the agenda item describes as "the request." It already has been approved by the Committee on Naming University Buildings.

UK spokesman Jimmy Stanton said the only donor the school has a formal agreement with is Joseph W. Craft III, who heads Alliance Coal and has given UK money in the past. The Joe Craft Center, a basketball practice facility, is named in his honor.

Craft put together a group of UK supporters called the Difference Makers to come up with the $7 million, Stanton said.

"This is a project that Mr. Craft feels is important and wanted to fund," he said. "The reality is that if this building is not constructed, this pledge will not be fulfilled."

As with other large pledges, Stanton said, the agreement with Craft states what the name of the building will be.

Plans for the basketball players' new home and its unusual name were announced Thursday evening at the end of a student-organized panel discussion about whether coal should continue to be used for heating on campus.

About 20 students signed a petition opposing the name, and some took petitions with them to gather more signatures. Students are expected to attend Tuesday's trustees meeting, hoping to speak against the idea.

Katie Goldey, a senior majoring in international studies and a member of the environmental group Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, said Friday that putting coal in the building's name suggests that the university has a "partnership with coal" that does not represent the feelings of all students.

"I think it shows that Kentucky is not committed to moving forward in terms of energy and new jobs for people in Eastern Kentucky," she said.