Lionel McIntyre (pictured) is the Nancy and George Rupp Associate Professor in the Practice of Community Development and the Founding Director of the Urban Technical Assistance Project at Columbia University. As Columbia University president for community development, he’s tried to make peace, sometimes unsuccessfully, with the Harlem community on behalf of Columbia’s expansion. But on Friday night, the Columbia Spectator reports, his interpersonal skills really failed him, and he ended up punching a Columbia production manager in the eye, for which he has been arrested…
McIntyre, 59, was apparently having a drink at Toast on Broadway south of 125th Street with Margaret Camille Davis of the School of the Arts when he flipped out. Davis did not immediately report the incident, and did not file a complaint for three days, because “she was being pressured not to make waves,” says a friend.
The Spectator said Toast regulars “confirmed that the altercation had occurred but declined to give any further details.” The New York Post says a bar employee actually tried to break the fight up, as did a patron, who got his glasses knocked off, and that McIntyre was ejected afterwards.
We learn from the Post that McIntyre is black and Davis is white, and that they were discussing “white privilege,” about which they had quarreled before. Post commenters provide the inspired discussion we have come to expect from them (“The president is black . So now all you white folk get in line !”).
For his part, McIntyre says he “didn’t mean for it to explode the way it did.” This may go in his favor during his disciplinary hearing at the university, but we doubt a judge will be much moved by it.