In a rare apology from a major U.S. university, the president of the University of Georgetown said that a comment she made about blacks was “not a comment on race”.
Georgetown University President Jasmine R. Davis released a statement Tuesday, saying she had made a comment in her inaugural address at the university about “how blacks are treated” and that she had meant it as a “call to action”.
In her remarks on Monday, Davis said that “black lives matter” and called for an end to “racist policing and racial profiling” and for a “better relationship between police and communities of colour”.
“It was a terrible error, and I apologize,” Davis wrote in the statement.
“I want to apologize to all those who were offended by my words and to all the people who were hurt by them.”
Davis said that she did not intend to offend anyone, including those who supported the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I didn’t intend to say anything that would have the potential to cause harm,” she wrote.
In the apology, Davis acknowledged that the words “black life” and “black people” “have been in the headlines” and were meant to “insult, shame, and demean”.
Davis added that she was “sorry for not being more careful” and said that there is a “growing consensus” that “racism is not an acceptable way to talk about race”.
“This is an epidemic, and we need to change it,” she said.
“It is time to confront the bigotry that we see around us, and to start taking action.”
Davis, who is the first black woman to hold the position of president at the University, had previously said that blacks are “a different breed” than other Americans and said they “have their own problems” and problems that have “always been there”.
Her remarks came as a growing number of black students and faculty members have expressed outrage at Davis’ remarks and demanded her resignation.
The University of Washington’s president said in a statement on Monday that Davis’ comments were “insensitive and demeaning”, and that the university will take “appropriate action” in response.
Earlier this week, Davis was also accused of calling an African-American professor an “ugly, mean-spirited, racist, and misogynistic woman” in a tweet that was later deleted.
Davis later apologized and said she had been “wrong”.