According to the Capital News Service, “While discussing the pay gap between men and women graduates, Board of Governors member Ed Morton said this, ‘The women are given, maybe some of it is genetic, I don’t know. I’m not smart enough to know the difference.’”
The story made national news, with stories running in the Washington Post and USA TODAY. Gov. Rick Scott, who gave Morton his appointment to the BOG, denounced the statement and the Orlando Sentinel named Morton its “Chump of the Week.” Morton apologized. But the National Organization for Women said that’s not enough and has called for him to step down.
Morton should definitely leave the BOG and Norman Tripp should go with him.
“It just sort of bothers me, I guess, when I hear you say back to me, ‘Well, you know, we have a mission of providing …,” Tripp said without completing the sentence. “We, as a state are trying to provide equal education for everybody. We don’t have separate but equal anymore.”
Tripp’s reference to “separate but equal” received a vocal reaction from some of the FAMU alumni in the room. He paused but then went on to make more comments that many FAMU alumni found offensive.
“You two women are very, very bright,” he told Mangum and David.
“I thought it was condescending,” former FAMU President Walter Smith told Politico Florida in response to that comment by Tripp. “First of all, yes, they’re bright. But lots of people are bright. Was he saying that ordinarily women of color are not bright? He could have been interpreted that way.”
Carolyn Collins, former president of the FAMU National Alumni Association, also had a problem with what Tripp said.
“All I can say is I can’t believe that a governor who is coordinating education in the state of Florida would make those kinds of comments in 2015,” she said.
Politico Florida reported that when “asked specifically [what] she found offensive, [Collins] said: ‘Everything he said.’”
Morton and Tripp’s terms on the BOG both end on January 6, 2020. Rattlers should also all the gubernatorial candidates to promise to not reappoint either one of them.