Ralph Papitto has donated millions to Roger Williams University. But when he used the word "nigger" when discussing the difficulties in finding minorities for the board, a storm of outrage erupted. 2

Ralph Papitto has donated millions to Roger Williams University. But when he used the word “nigger” when discussing the difficulties in finding minorities for the board, a storm of outrage erupted.

Amid outrage from students, school leaders and legislators over his use of the N-word, the former chairman of the Roger Williams University board said Wednesday he wants his name removed from its law school.

Ralph Papitto, who has donated millions of dollars to the university, used the slur during a May board meeting. He admitted saying it Monday, two days after it was first reported, and said he had apologized, but then saw demands only intensify to strip his name from Rhode Island’s only law school.

Roger Williams University chairman Ralph Papitto looks on during graduation ceremonies at Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I., Saturday, May 20, 2006. Papitto, for whom the only law school in Rhode Island is named, admitted Monday, July 16, 2007, that he used the N-word at a May 2007 meeting of the school’s Board of Trustees while discussing the difficulty of finding blacks and other minorities to serve on the 16-member board.

Supervisor Eugene A. Delgaudio (R-Sterling) sponsored the resolution, which was approved unanimously.he was there to ‘take over state government’ according to Ritter’s spokesman. (Tracy A. Woodward — The Washington Post)

Papitto, 80, asked that his name be removed from the Ralph R. Papitto School of Law in a letter to the new chairman of the Roger Williams board, Richard Bready. Bready said in a written statement that the board accepted Papitto’s request and “will continue to move forward with its plans to ensure a more diverse board.”

“I take full responsibility for this matter and ask for understanding from the community,” Papitto said in a statement read by his spokesman, Mike Trainor. “I do not want this controversy, which at present is running out of control, to further the damage already caused to the university.”

“We certainly can come up with a name that the entire Rhode Island community can agree is something we are all proud of, that our children should look up to,” said Matt Jerzyk, a law school student who circulated a petition for the name change.

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