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