Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Roger Williams University Resigns After Accusation He Used a Racial Slur in a Board Meeting

Ralph R. Papitto, chair of the board of trustees and a major financial benefactor of Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island, resigned his position after he was reported to have used the word “nigger” during a board meeting. At the time, the board consisted of 14 white men and two women. According to another board member, during a discussion of increasing racial diversity on the board, Papitto said, “They want us to add more poor kids and they want us to add more, well, I can’t call them niggers, I learned that from Imus.” Some board members said that Papitto had used disparaging language about blacks and other racial groups on several occasions in the past.

After his resignation was announced, Papitto issued an apology and agreed to have his name removed from the university’s law school.

Blacks are a mere 1.3 percent of the more than 4,300 undergraduate students at the university.