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Local members of the NYS Board of Regents weigh in on Paladino comments

T. Andrew Brown & Wade Norwood

Two Rochester area members  of the New York State Board of Regents are weighing in on the comments made by developer Carl Paladino last week, when he told a weekly newspaper that he hoped President Obama would die from mad cow disease and that Michelle Obama would return to being a male.

Attorney T. Andrew Brown, who is Vice Chancellor of the Board of Regents, says the comments are reprehensible but he says it is up to New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia  to decide if Paladino can be removed from the Buffalo School Board.

“I certainly have received many calls supporting that, and asking that the Board of Regents take action, or that the State Education Commissioner take action. What we have to do is wait for someone to file an application for removal and then we will consider it.”

Brown says Paladino’s comments are certainly not helpful to Buffalo in its efforts to turn around its school system.

“In the city of Buffalo there have been issues over the past several years and things were beginning to move in the right direction. When you have a board member making these types of comments it certainly does no good for anyone,” Brown told WXXI News.

Another Rochester area regent, Wade Norwood agrees with those sentiments.

“I think that it is very clear from the statements that have been released from the board that we all feel, as the chancellor expressed, a sense of moral outrage at what are in my view irresponsible and morally reprehensible words used by Mr. Paladino,” Norwood told WXXI News.

Norwood says he is gratified that a number of people throughout the state including those in government have stood up against hate speech.

Paladino issued a written statement Tuesday in response to the remarks he made, offering an apology to the minority community, but said he won’t resign from the school board.

On Wednesday, Emily DeSantis, a spokesperson for the State Education Department said,  “We are in the process of reviewing all of our options in this unusual situation and will closely watch the actions taken by the Buffalo Board of Education at tomorrow’s meeting.”