Former College of William and Mary President Gene Nichol is gone. His critics cited poor leadership and lack of judgment as the primary reasons for why he was unfit to lead the College. Current President Taylor Reveley has been in office for barely a month, and the same detractors are already on the attack. It would appear that these critics are not truly concerned about the aptitude of our college presidents. Their true concerns lie with the bold new initiatives that Nichol, Reveley and even former College President Tim Sullivan have all supported — namely Gateway William and Mary.
In a recent op-ed in The Virginia Gazette, Karla Bruno ’81, expressed her outrage over the fact that Reveley announced to students at the Oct. 6 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People College chapter meeting that Gateway had reached its $10 million fundraising goal instead of making the announcement at an Oct. 3 alumni event or waiting until December.
She went on to make the assertion that because Gateway was discussed at an NAACP meeting, the program is truly a disguised racial quota system. She then criticized Reveley for his apparent “lack of understanding.” There is clearly a lack of understanding, but it involves neither Reveley nor the College administration.
Listening to Bruno, one would think only racial minorities lack the financial resources needed to attend the College, but in reality, there are students of all races receiving aid through Gateway. To criticize the College, one would also have to criticize the University of Virginia, Stanford University, Harvard University and several other prestigious universities across the nation that implemented programs like Gateway years ago. In this regard, the College is merely catching up with the times.
When we invited Reveley to our meeting, the College NAACP chapter had a long list of discussion topics — Gateway being only one of them. The Flat Hat chose to focus its entire article on Reveley’s surprise announcement because it clearly knew such news would foster the greatest reaction from readers (as Bruno has proven).
Our discussion with Reveley encompassed so much more, and it is unfortunate that rather than attend our meeting, Bruno decided to base her entire attack on what she read in a student newspaper.
At the end of the day, the $10 million raised to support Gateway was contributed by private donors — individuals who feel that ensuring a quality education for all deserving young people, not just the wealthy, is a worthwhile endeavor.
It is clear Bruno, who dismisses Gateway as “a luxury,” is not among this group.
Justin Reid is a senior at the College.