Diversity, General

Statements from the Darden School, the Darden Student Association and Darden’s Black Business Student Forum

By Melissa Thomas-Hunt-

Today, the Darden School, the Darden Student Association and Darden’s Black Business Student Forum released the following statements:

 Statement from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The personal comments made by University of Virginia adjunct lecturer Doug Muir on his personal social media accounts do not in any way represent the viewpoint or values of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.

A core value of the Darden School of Business is a supportive and diverse community that encourages its members to collaborate and excel. At the Darden School, we value and respect all identities, commit to engaging members of the Darden community as unique individuals, and promote a multicultural, global and inclusive environment in which each person feels valued.

This week, we have celebrated Diversity Week at Darden, which has provided an opportunity to appreciate what each person brings to the community — and to dialogue about how diversity impacts our learning community and our lives. Organized by Darden students, with the participation of the entire community, the week has included lectures, open dialogues and creativity expressed through media such as this video.

As a school within a public university, we respect and recognize people’s rights, including their First Amendment right to free speech. As an institution of learning, we also recognize that diversity of opinion is foundational. However, the personal statements made by Doug Muir regarding Black Lives Matter do not represent the views of this School.

At Darden, we embrace the challenging discussions surrounding diversity, equality and justice that face our society because it is our mission to develop leaders who are prepared to lead responsibly through the most difficult issues confronting business and the world.

Statement from the Darden Student Association

Darden Community,

It is of serious concern to us that one faculty member — Douglas Muir — has taken it upon himself to publicly express views which are factually and historically inaccurate and which are undeniably intolerant — link to UVA Cavalier Daily.

The DSA has worked hard in collaboration with student clubs, community stakeholders, faculty, staff, alumni and the broader Darden community to foster and promote a culture which elevates and celebrates diversity and inclusion. Diversity Week has been a tremendous celebration of this spirit and a marquee week in the DSA calendar. We are proud of our community, and the grace with which it has worked to foster and maintain Darden’s core values.

The values of our community exist in striking opposition to Doug Muir’s stance. We vehemently disagree with his statement and we call upon the University of Virginia and the Darden School of Business to respond swiftly to uphold our values of inclusion, equality, and a dedication to truth and accuracy.

It is the mandate of the DSA to represent the best interests of the Darden student experience. We take this mission extremely seriously and will not stand for intolerance which directly affects our classmates and those around us.

Statement from the Black Business Student Forum

On October 4th, 2016, Douglas Muir, adjunct Professor at the Darden School of Business and the University of Virginia, posted the following message to Facebook: “Black lives matter is the biggest rasist organisation since the clan. Are you kidding me, Disgusting!!!”. This comment does not in any way reflect the Darden community. However, mindsets like these have the potential to significantly impact the positive community we seek to foster and protect. Presumably, the statement was in response to the recent presence of Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, as a speaker on grounds at the University of Virginia.

Mr. Muir’s statement likens Black Lives Matters’ decision to exercise their First Amendment right to gather to the actions of the Ku Klux Klan – an organization which has bombed churches, murdered men, women, and children, and violently protested such proposals as the integration of schools and the extension of the right to vote to African Americans.

Mr. Muir’s comparison of Black Lives Matter to the Ku Klux Klan is outrageous. Black Lives Matter was founded as an expression of Ms. Garza and others’ justified discontent with the experience of many African Americans. The Ku Klux Klan is an organization with a 100+ year history of murder, racism, and intimidation of innocent people. No protest can compare to the terror which the Ku Klux Klan has inflicted upon citizens of our community.

This week was a monumental week for diversity at Darden. Not only did we have great attendance at our event on racial injustice, but we also stood together as One Darden and wore black to represent solidarity. This progress will not be overshadowed and discredited by the comments of one faculty member. The kind of inaccurate and offensive comments made by Mr. Muir threaten to damage the inclusive community that the student body, alumni, Dean Beardsley, and the faculty and staff of Darden have worked hard to foster.

The ignorance of Mr. Muir’s statement speaks for itself. Our goal is to urge the University of Virginia to respond to its own faculty member’s expression of blatantly incorrect views and demonstrate its commitment to enlightenment and intellectual honesty by correcting this false message. This is an opportunity for Darden to stand behind its commitment to an inclusive community.

How Darden reacts from an administrative level will have a huge impact on how students view their experience at Darden. We believe in what Darden represents and we would hate for Mr. Muir’s actions to damage our unique and welcoming community. Mr. Muir is entitled to his opinion, no matter how ignorant it is. He is not entitled to his own facts. We are hopeful that the actions that the University of Virginia takes in response to Mr. Muir’s comments will reflect its commitment to truth and an inclusive environment.