Updated as of 2/23/2023 at 1:30 p.m. ET
Sophia Rosing, a former University of Kentucky senior who racially attacked a Black student, has (finally) been indicted by a grand jury on six counts, per the Lexington Herald Leader. She previously pleaded not guilty to the charges when she was arrested.
Rosing is charged with third-degree assault of a police officer, two counts of fourth-degree assault, second-degree disorderly conduct and alcohol intoxication, the report says. So far, no one has considered viewing her actions as a hate crime. In viral videos of the incident, Rosing was seen drunkenly attacking UK freshman Kylah Spring and shouting racial slurs. When the police arrived, reports say she resisted arrest by kicking and biting the officer.
Her arraignment is scheduled for March 17 in the Fayette County Circuit Court. She could face up to five years in prison for chomping on that police officer’s hand, per Kentucky state law.
Per Fox 19 News, she withdrew from the university following the incident but was permanently banned from campus and ineligible to return to the school. She was also fired from her job as a “student influencer” and an employee at Dillards.
Her attorney, Fred Peters, stressed how ashamed his client was following the altercation, despite her smug smirk in her mugshot. He and Rosing previously decided to waive the preliminary hearing to the Fayette County Grand Jury.
Peters said Rosing will be “seeking help” following the incident and her arrest. According to the Daily Mail, she’ll be going to rehab and will undergo racial sensitivity training.
“She’s a very, very embarrassed and humiliated young lady,” said attorney Fred Peters, via AP News.
She should be. Spring was facing a lot already being a Black student in her first semester at a mostly white college. Being terrorized by a crazy racist senior was certainly not on her bingo card. Spring did not deserve for her college experience to begin this way.
The university said it is conducting its own investigation, although Rosing no longer attends the university.
“Although she is no longer a student, we must continue our investigations - That includes our cooperation with an investigation into criminal charges filed - As a community working wholeheartedly to prevent racist violence, we also must be committed to holding people accountable for their actions. The processes we have in place are essential,” said President Eli Capilouto via CNN.
University of Kentucky Students Rally
A group of University of Kentucky students held a rally to support Spring, per Lexington Herald Leader. Though Rosing was criminally charged, her booking didn’t guarantee the end to racist chaos on UK’s campus.
The Mu Theta Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. organized a march in response to the viral video of the racist incident. Rosing was seen spitting racial slurs at Spring and assaulting her inside a residence hall lobby while heavily intoxicated. Recently, Spring stood in front of the crowd of students and her family who flew in from Memphis to address the incident.
“To Ms. Rosing, you will not break my spirit and you will be held accountable for your actions. I only pray that you open your heart to love and try to experience life differently and more positively after this,” Spring said with tears rolling down her face.
One student, a senior, in a speech recorded via TikTok said: “I listened to my counterparts discussing today like, ‘Yo this is the first time I’ve seen something like. This is the first time that the University of Kentucky has dealt with something like this.’ This is the first time that it’s been recorded - but I promise you this is not the first time that we’ve had to deal with this.”
Read about the previous incidents from NBC News:
In 2020, the university banned a basketball fan from all future sports events after she shouted a racist slur — the same one Rosing used — at a supporter of a visiting team. The fan — Ashley Lyles, who apologized in a statement to NBC affiliate WLEX of Lexington — was not a student, a university spokesperson said.
In the past, some students also complained about a mural on campus, dating to 1934, that depicted what some said were enslaved Black people. The mural was covered for more than a year as officials debated how to handle it before it was unveiled again in 2017 with a plaque next to it providing context about its history, concerns that had been raised about it over the years and how the university was working to ensure a more inclusive environment.
In 2008, a University of Kentucky student and another man were arrested and accused of hanging a life-size likeness of President-elect Barack Obama from a tree on the campus, an act that university officials condemned. A grand jury declined to indict the pair.