N-word “kind of slipped out,” university board chairman says

The longtime chairman of the Roger Williams University board admitted Monday to using the N-word during a board meeting, saying it “kind of slipped out.”

“I apologized for that,” Ralph Papitto said in an interview on WPRO-AM. “What else can I do? Kill myself?”

Papitto, 80, who stepped down earlier this month after nearly 40 years on the board, admitted he had used the racial slur at a May meeting of the school’s board of trustees.

He had been discussing the difficulty of finding blacks and other minorities to serve on the 16-member board, which at the time included 14 white men and two women.

Barbara Roberts, then a board member, said Papitto became irate when he discussed pressures to make the board more diverse, at one point using the slur to refer to black candidates to the board.

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