Wendell Berry Pulls Papers from U. of Kentucky

June 23, 2010

The author Wendell Berry is withdrawing his personal papers from the University of Kentucky to protest several university policies, including the naming of a basketball dormitory in honor of the coal industry and an emphasis on becoming a top research university in a way that Berry believes will detract from the institution's traditional land grant mission, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported. In a letter obtained by the newspaper, Berry wrote: "The university's president and board have solemnized an alliance with the coal industry, in return for a large monetary 'gift,' granting to the benefactors, in effect, a co-sponsorship of the university's basketball team.... That — added to the 'Top 20' project and the president's exclusive 'focus' on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — puts an end to my willingness to be associated in any way officially with the university." A university spokesman said the institution was disappointed with the decision -- especially because it had purchased many of Berry's works to be in the same collection with the personal papers.

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