The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Thursday, December 04, 2003
 

The Great UVa Nigger controversy (continued)


I've grown to be wary of spending time worrying about jury questions on which I don't, and never will, have sufficient evidence to arrive at a sensible judgement.

But there is some more on the facts of the UVa case in a piece in The Hook (December 4) of Charlottesville, VA, which I feel drawn to record.

The person who uttered the fateful word was Myra Larkin, a supervisor about whom complaints had previously been made (how many upheld? not revealed).

It seems that the ruckus was started by a complaint from
the newly formed UVA Staff Union.

A supporter of Larkin's,
activist Kevin Cox...says he thinks the protest, organized by the newly formed UVA Staff Union, was an attempt to "exploit the issue to recruit members."

However,
Jan Cornell, president of the Staff Union, denies that was her objective: "My intent was to put racism back on the table at UVA," she explains. "I didn't do this to get attention for the union."

It's clear that some of the most basic facts have yet to be ascertained:
So how did a verbal faux pas end up making headlines and prompting such a prominent figure as NAACP head Julian Bond to suggest in a mass email that, were it not for his respect for freedom of speech, he would recommend that the speaker be fired?
Answer comes there none. And
UVA spokesperson Carol Wood says it's not clear how the incident was reported, or by whom.

We still don't even have the actual words that Larkin said - only Medical Center CEO R. Edward Howell's paraphrase.

I'm curious to know what proportion of the union's membership, and of the pool of potential recruits, is black.

There may be further enlightenment on the facts, or there may not be. I shan't be holding my breath.


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