UVA lecturer, business owner causes controversy for comparing BLM to KKK

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- UPDATE: The University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science says Doug Muir has agreed to take a leave from the school. He is associated with both the School of Engineering and the Darden School of Business at UVA.

Full School of Engineering statement:

A recent comment regarding the Black Lives Matter movement, posted on social media by Doug Muir, a lecturer in our School, has raised serious concerns about UVA Engineering’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and support of populations that are traditionally underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

While free speech and open discussion are fundamental principles of our nation and the University, Mr. Muir’s comment was entirely inappropriate. UVA Engineering does not condone actions that undermine our values, dedication to diversity and educational mission. Our faculty and staff are responsible for upholding our values and demonstrating them to students and the community. Mr. Muir has agreed to take leave and is preparing his own statement to the community.

We believe humanity will not solve its ongoing challenges unless it embraces the ideas and talents of people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives. UVA Engineering is educating the nation’s future leaders, problem-solvers and policy makers. We expect our faculty and staff to create a climate that supports and engages all.

This incident has illuminated the need for further dialogue. UVA Engineering must work together to advance a shared vision for a truly inclusive learning community.

Craig H. Benson, Ph.D., PE, NAE
Dean, School of Engineering & Applied Science

John Fitzgerald Gates, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion
School of Engineering & Applied Science

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Original Story:

In a week that was meant to celebrate diversity at Darden Graduate School of Business, Douglas Muir, an adjunct lecturer at the business school, has caused some controversy after a Facebook post surfaced of him saying that Black Lives Matter is the biggest, racist organization since the Ku Klux Klan. Some people seemed to be surprised, but one University of Virginia student says she's not.

"Once you start taking the time to understand that all of these programs, and all of these seminars and things the university does to show that they're diverse, and show that they care for the students of the university, you come to realize that they are very much on the surface level." said Anelle Mensah of the UVA Black Student Alliance.

Muir did not respond to a request for comment about this post. The Darden School of Business did issue a statement saying, "The personal statements made by Doug Muir regarding Black Lives Matter do not represent the views of this school," but for Mensah, there's an even bigger issue at hand.

"This incident with Douglas Muir does not just represent UVA students, but also the city of Charlottesville as a whole."

That's something Charlottesville Vice-Mayor Wes Bellamy agrees with, because Muir also owns Bella's restaurant on West Main Street.

"It has been confirmed that he wrote the post," said Bellamy, "And I think that he needs to be educated on the subject matter . I don't want us to throw the man to the wolves, or completely disregard the man, but I think he needs to be educated. We need to have a conversation about exactly what those words meant that he wrote."

Now Bellamy is calling for a boycott.

"And because he doesn't understand the impact of his words, we need to show him economically just how powerful those words and that statement actually meant to people in this community," said Bellamy.

If you want to read the full statement made by the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, click on the link in this web story.

Continue reading to see a statement from Tom Katsouleas, the Executive Vice President and Provost of UVA:

I was disturbed and saddened to learn of Mr. Muir’s recent statement on his personal Facebook page. This statement is inconsistent with the University of Virginia’s values and with its commitment to the principles of academic freedom.

The University of Virginia stands firmly against racism and social injustice of any kind. Our mission statement offers “our unwavering support of a collaborative, diverse community bound together by distinctive foundational values of honor, integrity, trust, and respect.” This position in no way squelches academic freedom, which welcomes dissent and encourages the voices of others whose perspectives may differ from ours—thereby adding new insights to our own. But statements such as Mr. Muir’s do not foster intellectual exploration, nor do they encourage the voices of others.

Our own School of Nursing puts it best: “Compassion and respect live here.” We can engage in healthy debate and respectful disagreement without offering insults that suppress the free expression of ideas. I encourage all of us to keep respect and truth at the center of the conversations we will have about this incident in the coming days.



 
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