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Statement from University of Virginia President John T. Casteen III in response to remarks made today by Al Groh, U.Va. football coach

September 20, 2001-- Coach Al Groh is quoted as having made a comment insulting to Arab people in an unrehearsed conversation with reporters today. I have seen Coach Groh's expression of regret for the remark. I take his apology seriously, and I hope that others will also. The remark appears to have been made in passing and probably not after much forethought in the course of questions about other matters -- about football, travel plans, and the condition of the team and the program.

Although I know how hard it can be to forgive even a passing remark that seems to place blame unfairly or to separate out one group of us as enemies of others, I ask that we do that. Categorical or ethnic hostility toward others is contrary to the University's core values just as it is to Coach Groh's. It is contrary also to President Bush's appeals during the last week for reason and mutual respect among us.

Just as the U.S. is an inclusive nation, the University is and means to be an inclusive community, open to women and men of talent and good will from all backgrounds and cultures and traditions. Let's move beyond this issue and concentrate on activities that draw us together.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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