Kentucky student who repeatedly used racial slur and assaulted Black students will withdraw, lawyer says

The white University of Kentucky student who was caught on video assaulting Black students will voluntarily withdraw from the university, her lawyer told NBC News on Tuesday morning.

“She’s going to withdraw from the university today or tomorrow,” attorney Fred Peters said of Sophia Rosing, 22, a senior who was captured on viral video repeatedly hurling a racist slur and physically attacking two Black students Sunday.

“She’s a very, very embarrassed and humiliated young lady,” he said.

Peters added that he is “getting her into some kind of treatment program and sensitivity program to help her through this situation.”

He said Rosing will receive treatment for “several things” but declined to elaborate further.

“She’s going to get help, that’s all I can say,” he said.

A spokesperson for the university said school officials have no comment at this time.

Rosing’s voicemail was full and she did not immediately respond to a text, email or Facebook message.

Rosing was captured on video assaulting first-year Kentucky student Kylah Spring, who was working at the front desk of a campus dorm when the incident unfolded early Sunday.

The video shows Rosing — who appears visibly intoxicated and struggles to stay standing — striking at Spring while repeatedly calling her a racial slur. Later in the video, Rosing tries to kick Spring and punch another student — who also appears to be a Black woman — as they try to restrain Rosing and put her in a chair, though it is unclear whether she actually struck either. Rosing also attempts to charge Spring with a shopping cart in the video.

The video ends showing a white male police officer handcuffing Rosing in the dorm as she continues to repeat the racial slur and struggles to remain standing. During the arrest, she kicked and bit a police officer and told him she has “lots of money” and gets “special treatment,” according to a police report.

University of Kentucky student Sophia Rosing, left, uses racial slurs while attacking two Black students, including Kylah Spring, right.
University of Kentucky student Sophia Rosing, left, uses racial slurs while attacking two Black students, including Kylah Spring, right.via Facebook

Police arrested Rosing just before 4 am Sunday on charges of intoxication in a public place, third-degree assault on a police officer, fourth-degree assault and second-degree disorderly conduct, an online record from the Fayette County Detention Center showed.

She was held on $10,000 bond before being released Monday night, following a court appearance in which she pleaded not guilty and waived a formal arrangement, WLEX reported.

As a condition of her release, a judge ordered Rosing must have no contact with Spring, stay away from the dorm where the assault occurred and consume no alcohol, WLEX reported.

She is due back in court Nov. 15, her lawyer said.

University officials announced Monday that a student conduct review process was underway following Rosing’s arrest. The university’s president condemned Rosing’s actions in an email to students Sunday.

On Monday night, hundreds of students gathered at a rally organized by the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity to support Spring and condemn racism on campus, NBC affiliate WLEX of Lexington, Kentucky, reported.

At the rally, Spring said she would not cower to her attacker.

“To Ms. Rosing: you will not break my spirit,” Spring said to applause.

“You will not break my spirit, and you will be held accountable for your actions,” Spring continued. “I only pray that you open your heart to love and try to experience life differently and more positively after this.”

Those comments came after Spring said, through tears, that she “was physically, verbally and racially assaulted by Jane Doe, aka Sophia Rosing,” referencing Rosing’s refusal to identify herself to police, which led her to be booked into jail as “Jane Doe ,” an online record from the Fayette County Detention Center showed.

A University of Kentucky spokesperson confirmed Rosing’s identity to NBC News on Sunday.

Spring said at the rally that the Sunday assault highlights “a recurring issue in and across American school systems, no matter what age,” she said. “I am deeply saddened by the events that took place, but I’m most grateful for justice that is to come.”

Spring did not immediately return a request for comment.

University of Kentucky student Kylah Spring speaks at a rally following a racist assault on another Black student and her, captured on video on Nov.  6, 2022.
University of Kentucky student Kylah Spring speaks at a rally following a racist assault on her and another Black student, captured on video Nov. 6, 2022.WLEX

The University of Kentucky has had several incidents of racism on campus that have targeted Black people in recent years.

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.

A spokesperson said that the university announced plans to remove it after the murder of George Floyd in 2020 and that the building that houses the mural has been closed since then.

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.

Spring added at the rally that she stands in solidarity with her fellow Black students: “To my Black UK community: I see you, I feel you, and I stand with you. I matter, you matter, and we matter,” she said. “We will be stronger.”

She urged her peers to “continue to address this situation with grace and humility, and keep your heads held high, and lean on each other as we heal ourselves and our community.”

“I’d like to leave you with one word of advice,” Spring continued. “As Michelle Obama once said, when they go low …”

“We go high,” the crowd chanted in response.

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