Roy Exum: Some Good And Some Bad

Saturday, December 7, 2013 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

The trustees at the Girls Preparatory School believe they have a phenomenal new Head of School in Autumn Graves, who will become the first female in over 40 years to lead the highly-acclaimed prep school, but let me let you in on a secret -- the new “Mr. GPS” is also quite a guy.

Nini Davenport, who chairs the Board of Trustees, was obviously delighted on Thursday when she made the announcement, explaining, "We looked for a person who would build a strong sense of community on campus and champion GPS locally, nationally, and globally while upholding our high level of academic standards. (In Autumn) We found all of this, and more.”

But listen to this: Autumn’s husband Vann, once a Fulbright Scholar, is one of the top advertising executives in New York. He worked his way through Howard University and got a master’s at Pratt Institute to become the executive creative director of McCann Worldgroup, which is a huge agency with many global accounts.

The bigger thing you need to know is that right after 9/11 horrors, Vann asked for a leave-of-absence  and, intent on serving his country that had just been attacked, immediately enlisted in the U.S. Army. He fought in Iraq, earning the Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, and the rank of captain.

Both Autumn and Vann are from Richmond – Vann’s family dates all the way back to 1752 in Powhatan – but didn’t meet until after he had resumed his advertising career. In 2008 he was in New York and friends arranged a blind date. They fell in love almost immediately and a huge crowd attended their wedding two years later.

“We wanted to have the reception at the Jefferson Hotel,” he told the New York Times’ wedding editor. “It was so poignant – two black kids celebrating at a place where my grandfather W. Oscar Ford had  been a doorman at a time when African-Americans were not allowed to be guests. We ended up staying in the Presidential Suite!”

* * *

There is nothing funny about sexual assault but don’t tell that to Willie Meggs, the Tallahassee district attorney who announced on Thursday that his office would not pursue rape charges against Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston after a Dec. 2012 case was reopened. Meggs came across during the news conference as the biggest jerk this side on San Francisco when he laughed and joked his way through the announcement.

During the packed press conference ESPN’s Sam Ponder, wife of former FSU quarterback Christian Ponder, tweeted, “Anyone else uncomfortable with the amount of smiling/laughter in this press conference?”

By Friday the state attorney was roundly castigated by the nation’s media for a glaring lack of sensitivity. An angry tweet from Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill said it all: “As former prosecutor [and] advocate for rape victims I'm disgusted at the frivolity of Meggs press conference announcing no charges on Winston. The press conference was just wrong. No time to joke."

USA Today columnist Christine Brennan wrote yesterday, “Everyone seemed so incredibly happy to be talking about an alleged sexual assault. (When a reporter asked) "Was there a sexual assault?" Meggs (laughed as he replied) "Well, that's kind of why we're here."

At another point a reporter asked the state attorney, "Any idea why (the victim) was hesitant to tell you who her boyfriend was?" and the boorish man replied, “Well, tell us about your girlfriend!"

My heavens, is it any wonder that victims of sexual abuse are hesitant to come forward?

Royexum@aol.com

Autumn Graves, who was just named as the new Head of School at GPS, married her husband at a lavish Richmond wedding in 2010 and since Vann was awarded the Bronze Star for valor in Iraq, the two entered the ballroom under crossed sabers. Today Vann is a leading advertising executive in New York.
Autumn Graves, who was just named as the new Head of School at GPS, married her husband at a lavish Richmond wedding in 2010 and since Vann was awarded the Bronze Star for valor in Iraq, the two entered the ballroom under crossed sabers. Today Vann is a leading advertising executive in New York.

Roy Exum: Fourth Of July, 2015

As one who is about good and fed up with being “socially correct” so less than 10 percent of us can dictate how the other 90 percent of us ought to think, I am going to pause today in order to share a wonderfully fun email that has been around for a while. It is aptly called, “You Could Have Heard A Pin Drop.” Before I do, I got a sweet note the other day from my dear friend ... (click for more)

New Walmart Neighborhood Market Is A Step Back For The East Brainerd Community - And Response

Driving out East Brainerd Road recently, I was excited to see that what I thought was the run down strip center being renovated was actually a new Walmart Neighborhood Market.  I believe that this is the same type facility that was proposed for Middle Valley, but was rejected by the local citizens living in that area. I don't recalling hearing anything about any neighborhood ... (click for more)

Muslim Advocacy Group Questions House Arrest For Signal Mountain Man Charged In Threats Against Muslim Village In New York

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, on Saturday questioned the release of a Signal Mountain man who admitted to planning what it called "a Charleston-style terror attack" on a Muslim community in New York. CAIR also called for stepped up protection for the community targeted in the plot. Judge ... (click for more)

Plumbers Bring Complaints To WWTA; Told New Contracts Are Ready

Several plumbers on Thursday brought complaints to a committee of the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority (WWTA) and got little response other than being told that new contracts are ready. Kay Keefe of Keefe Plumbing said the small number of plumbing companies still participating in the program to repair leaky lines to homes, have long been operating without ... (click for more)

Chattanooga FC Clinches Southeast Division Title

The Chattanooga Football Club clinched the Southeast Division title Saturday night before a crowd of 4,000 plus fans and celebrated with fireworks after the game.  Chattanooga beat visiting Nashville FC 2-0.   Matt Aldred scored the first goal in the 27th minute and Jack Hopkins scored the second goal in the 85th minute.  Chattanooga will host the conference ... (click for more)

TSWA Announces All-State Soccer Teams

 The Tennessee Sports Writers Association recently announced its all-state high school soccer teams. THE TEAMS        TSWA All State Boys’ Soccer teams Class AAA Nathan Djona, Antioch junior forward Avery Cowan, Brentwood senior midfielder Johnny Heckman, Centennial senior midfielder Nick Zalewski, Sr., Cookeville ... (click for more)