Nevada regent calls black colleague ‘orangutan’
LAS VEGAS — Pushing for colleague Linda Howard’s resignation, Nevada university regent Mark Alden called the board’s only black member an “orangutan.”
Alden has been seeking Howard’s ouster following disclosures she accessed UNLV student and staff records. He claimed Howard checked the records for personal reasons.
Alden, on a KXNT 840-AM show Thursday, said Howard’s behavior sends the wrong message to young people.
“Boy, look at this board. Boy, they’re a bunch of orangutans,” he said. “I do believe, though, we only got one orangutan.”
Howard responded by calling Alden “just a headline-grabbing buffoon” whose comments showed “obvious” racism.
“He sat in this studio and called me an orangutan fully knowing this is an age-old racial (stereotype) used throughout history and he felt fully comfortable doing that,” she said on the radio show Friday, responding to Alden.
Alden was on the air with student Hubert Hensen, who had called Howard an “idiot” in an article in the University of Nevada, Las Vegas student newspaper, the Rebel Yell.
Howard then accessed Hensen’s university records, but maintained that she only wanted verification that he was a student.
Alden repeated his remarks on Friday, insisting he didn’t know the “orangutan” reference had racist connotations. He said he’d apologize if Howard wanted him to — but also accused her of making racist comments about him in the past.
Regents Chairman Doug Seastrand said the name-calling between Alden and Howard has gotten out of hand.
“We expect our regents to disagree on issues but to not make it personal,” Seastrand said.