A cartoon in the Cavalier Daily this fall led to protests, a sit-in, an apology and, ultimately, the forced resignation of the cartoonist.
Grant Woolard, a fourth-year student, depicted nine gaunt black men clad in loincloths fighting with an assortment of objects in his Sept. 4 “Quirksmith” strip. The cartoon carried the caption “Ethiopian Food Fight.”
The intent, Woolard told the Associated Press, was to raise awareness about famine. But students and administrators protested immediately and vigorously. About 200 students staged a sit-in outside the Cavalier Daily office, saying the strip was racist and demanding that Woolard lose his job.
The student-run newspaper apologized in an editorial and Woolard, co-editor of the paper’s graphics department, was fired. That action led four other cartoonists to resign in protest.
In an interview in the Washington Post, Woolard says he was not trying to trivialize famine, “but I will admit that I really lacked the foresight in anticipating the reaction.” He also faulted Cavalier Daily editors for not sharing the blame.
Herb Ladley, editor in chief of the newspaper, told the AP, “The instant the public raised a question about it, we realized it was a mistake.” He also noted that Woolard’s strip had caused controversy in the past.
In 2006, Woolard’s “Christ on a Cartesian Coordinate Plane” depicted Jesus crucified on a mathematical x-y axis. Another cartoon suggested that the Virgin Mary suffered an “immaculately transmitted” venereal disease.