U.Va. lecturer compares Black Lives Matter to KKK
Engineering, Darden professor calls movement racist on Facebook
Douglas Muir, an executive lecturer in the Engineering School and the Darden School, as well as the owner of the restaurant Bella’s, compared the Black Lives Matter movement to the Ku Klux Klan in a recent Facebook post.
“Black lives matter is the biggest rasist organisation [sic] since the clan [sic]. Are you kidding me. Disgusting!!!” Muir wrote, commenting on a post from Charlottesville realtor Roger Voisinet.
Voisinet’s post, published Oct. 4, depicted Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza speaking at the Paramount Theater.
Garza was speaking at an event titled “Rooting Out Injustice: Poverty, Race and the Role of Legal Aid.”
Charlottesville resident Joe Starsia, who said he saw Muir’s comment after a fellow community member shared a screenshot of it on Facebook, searched for Muir’s comment, and then shared his own screenshot of it and called on the University to respond.
“It is unacceptable for one of your lecturers to be comparing [Black Lives Matter] to the Klan,” Starsia said in a separate tweet to the Darden School.
The Engineering School and Darden School both replied to Muir’s comment via their official Facebook and Twitter accounts.
“Comments made on personal social media sites do not represent the views of the University of Virginia, the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Darden School of Business,” the Darden School’s Facebook comment read. “U.Va. and the U.Va. Darden School value diversity and inclusion.” The Engineering School wrote a similar response on Starsia’s page.
Elizabeth Thiel Mather, director of communications in the Engineering School, made a similar statement to The Cavalier Daily and said University employees are covered by University policy.
According to the University’s Human Resources site, Virginia state law governs University employees’ social media use.
Under the personal use section of this policy, employees are told to “be clear that their communication or posting is personal and is not a communication of the agency or the Commonwealth when using electronic communications or social media for personal use.”
Starsia, who is an organizer with the civil rights group Showing Up For Racial Justice, said he thinks the University’s response was not appropriate.
“I think this is a situation where there’s a need for the School of Engineering, for Darden to step up and say that this is a place where people of color should feel comfortable and should feel safe, and where a group like Black Lives Matter isn’t going to be bullied on social media by one of their professors,” he said in an interview with The Cavalier Daily.
Voisinet, who attended Garza’s talk, expressed surprise at Muir’s sentiments.
“Surely no one who had been at the talk would have concluded that,” Voisinet said in a statement. “It saddened me that someone I knew would react so.”
Muir’s comment is no longer on Facebook. Voisinet said he did not delete it himself.
Muir did not immediately respond to a request for comment.