Barbara Roberts, then a board member, said Papitto became irate when he discussed pressures to make the board more diverse, at one point using the slur to refer to black candidates to the board.
She said he then told the board he knew he couldn't say that because of Don Imus, the radio host who was fired after referring to Rutgers University women's basketball team members as "nappy-headed hos."
"There was, like, this complete and utter silence, and I was shocked beyond belief and very angry," Roberts said.
Papitto, who has given the school at least $7 million and whose name is on the only law school in Rhode Island, said he had never used the term before.
"The first time I heard it was on television or rap music or something," he told WPRO. |CNN|
Given that we let so many ugly policies go unremarked, I'm not so sure that I believe in punishing people for using ugly words. Be that as it may, the excuse given by Ralph Papitto, former chairman of the Roger Williams University board, for his (somewhat) recent use of the n-word at a board meeting is the most ridiculous thing that I've ever heard.