I write this letter with a heavy heart. First, I would like to express my condolences to the family of Katie Autry, and I pray that she is now in a better place. I know the pain her family goes through, and I empathize with them.
The circumstances leading up to the murder of Katie are sad, but what is even more sad is that they could have been avoided. I am a second generation alumni of Western and could not be more proud of my University; but with that said, I could not be more disappointed with its leadership.
From the early 1990s on, it was increasingly clear that the “residence halls” at WKU were a problem at best and a disaster in truth. As a student leader, it was obvious to me that the problems of the aging residence halls and the ineptitude of those that run them represented a serious concern to WKU students. Some saw this as an immediate concern and it was suggested that WKU study privatization of the dorms. This idea was quickly rejected by the administration, without any study or consideration.
This is understandable, but what is not is the mandate, passed on from Potter Hall, that all freshman and sophomores be required to live in these structures. This requirement was rubber stamped by the administration and implemented.
I call on my alma matter to take the following steps:
1. Remove the requirement that all underclassman be required to live in these deathtraps. Western is a wonderful place to get a higher education, not because of the dorms, but in spite of them.
2. WKU undertake an immediate study of privitzation of all residence halls. I learned, as the student representative on the WKU Bookstore Privitization Committee, that these committees submit a legal gag order on such representatives, forbidding them from talking to those they have been elected to represent. A fair study would proclude such restrictions.
3. Those former and current administrators who conspired to keep the dorms in the condition they are now in recuse themselves from comment and cooperate fully with this investigation. This includes Little Tommy Meredith, David Parrott, Kit Tolbert, and “Uncle Tom” Howard Bailey. These people all had full knowledge of such issues and enjoy their job more than their responsibilities.
To coin a phrase, “the embodiment of bad judgment is alive and well”. Dr. Ransdell has proven to be an excellent leader, and I hope he asserts leadership in this situation.
Rick Malek, Jr
Class of ’97