BYU VP Apologizes for Racial Comment

BYU VP Apologizes for Racial Comment

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A Brigham Young University vice president has apologized for using a racial stereotype during a 1999 meeting with football coaches.

Fred Skousen, advancement vice president for athletics, made a comment about Chinese laborers in front of then-BYU assistant coach Norm Chow, a native Hawaiian of Chinese descent who is now the offensive coordinator for Southern California.

"I made a comment without thinking," Skousen said in a written statement released Friday to the Deseret Morning News. "Afterwards, I realized it was offensive and immediately distributed a written apology to all who were in attendance."

The Morning News reported that during the meeting, Skousen told Cougar coaches a new indoor football facility would be built. He then added, "And we've got all the Chinese lined up ready to go to work."

Chow, was sitting in the front row of the 1999 meeting, he told the Denver Post, which first reported the incident Friday.

"My buddy behind me was going to jump on me because he thought I was going to stand up and slug him," Chow, 57, said.

After spending 27 years an as assistant at BYU, Chow left BYU soon after the 1999 meeting for a year at North Carolina State. He's now in his third season with the Trojans

Chow, who maintains a residence in Provo, coached quarterbacks at BYU where he mentored Steve Young, Robbie Bosco and Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer. He also became the Cougar offensive coordinator and assistant head coach under LaVell Edwards. At USC, he coached another Heisman winner in Carson Palmer.

Skousen played a major role in shaping the Mountain West Conference after then-BYU president Merrill J. Bateman and University of Utah President Bernie Machen orchestrated a defection from the 16-team Western Athletic Conference.

Skousen acted as the head of a selection committee that came up with a name for the new conference.

BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins said the university does not discriminate in hiring.

"Brigham Young University is an equal opportunity employer and abides by all federal and state guidelines," she said.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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