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Jewish World Review May 2, 2001 / 9 Iyar, 5761

Walter Williams

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Virginia State University tyranny -- IF we had to single out one American institution that stands at the forefront of modern-day racial discrimination, deception and contempt for fundamental principles of liberty, it would be America's universities.

Under the euphemisms of affirmative action, multiculturalism or diversity, race is used as admission criterion and then administrators swear it isn't. They often restrict free speech and swear they don't. Plus, financial improprieties are not off the agenda.

By no means do all universities fit this description, but enough do so that students, parents and taxpayers can benefit from taking note.

Virginia State University, a historically black university in Petersburg, Va., is a particularly egregious example of university life today. Eddie Moore has been VSU's president since 1993. Typically, to earn a presidential appointment, one must have a doctorate and an academic background. Moore has neither, save for an honorary doctorate bestowed on him by Virginia Union University. Given Moore's background, his management of VSU should come as no surprise, as several of his faculty would attest.

One faculty member is 55-year-old Jean Cobbs, who has been a professor of sociology at VSU since 1971, having earned her doctorate from the College of William and Mary. She founded the university's social work program, had success in soliciting grants and received high performance ratings from 1971 to 1993.

In 1994, Cobbs was fired from her position as department chairman. In 1995, she was fired as director of the social work program, which she founded and won accreditation for. Moore's new director lost that accreditation.

In 1996, the university gave Cobb a terminal contract that, later, the commonwealth's attorney general's office forced the university to rescind. She has been physically assaulted by a male faculty member, with no action taken. Over the last five years, she's received 1.2 percent pay raises, while the university average is 5 percent. The list of various and sundry harassments of Cobb at the hands of Moore and his campus cronies is virtually without end.

The source of Cobbs' problems is that she is a conservative Republican. Moore, his cronies and campus neo-Marxists deem it traitorous for blacks to be either Republican or conservative.

Moore had other targets for harassment. Dr. Emmanuel Amobi, Nigerian-born, is an eminent accounting professor, but he's also a conservative Republican. Amobi was discriminatorily denied tenure.

He sued the university and won an out-of-court settlement. Drs. Fathy Saleh and Charles Whyte, and chemistry professor Dr. Godwin Mbagwu had their research grants taken away from them by Moore. These professors were also Republican and conservative. Saleh and Mbagwu sued VSU, and the court awarded them a $1.7 million judgment. Cobb has brought suit in Virginia's Circuit Court, alleging scores of charges -- her case will be heard sometime this summer.

You say, "Williams, how can this go on?" Wouldn't Virginia's governor's office and Office of the Attorney General, the Virginia Council of Higher Education and the commonwealth's House of Delegates know what's going on at Virginia State University?

I guarantee you that they all do, but they're timid and fearful of being labeled as racists if they take corrective action. It might be worse than that. It could be that they hold a racist double standard, whereby predominantly black universities, their administrators and their faculty are exempted from the academic standards of conduct and decency to which predominantly white universities are held.

The mystery to me is why professors like Cobb, Amobi, Saleh, Whyte and Mbagwu would want to work at Virginia State University in the first place.

Walter Williams Archives


© 2000, Creators Syndicate