North Carolina Newspapers

    After 13 years, Ruffin bids farewell to R.J. Reynolds
Ren Ruffin will leave his posi
tion at RJ. Reynolds Tobacco Co.
later this month - closing another
chapter in his ongoing success
Ruffin - who serves as vice
president of corporate affairs -
will leave the company Feb. 28 in
order to devote more time to his
personal life and his many other
Ruffin will continue to serve as
an advisor to the company,
according to
RJR offi
said Wednes
day that
moving to an
position will
provide him
a well
deserved Kuffin
"It is the right time and the
UNC Board chair to remain as advisor
right situation," he said. "AO my
life I've been in demanding situa
Ruffin - who has had a num
ber of formidable jobs since his
20s when be led Civil Rights cam
paigns - says he first thought
about leaving the company near
ly two years ago as hie was
approaching his 10-year anniver
"When you reach a threshold.
you start thinking about it then,"
he said
Ruffin and his wife, Avon, a
school system administrator, have
two daughters, both of whom are
enrolled at Hampton University.
Ruffin said he finally made the
decision after careful considera
tion and discussions with his fam
The 57-year-old, Durham
native joined the RJR corpora
tion ia 1986 as the director of cor
porate affairs for RJR Nabisco.
He made the move to his current
position at R J. Reynolds Tobacco 1
Co. in 1989.
"Ben has played an integral
role within RJR for the last 13
years and has been an invaluable
part of our team," said Andrew
Schindler, president and chief
executive officer of R.1 Reynolds
Tobacco. "We are extremely
pleased that Ben has agreed to
remain an advisor to the compa
ny?For many years to come, RJR
will benefit from the work Ben
has done and the strong, produc
tive relationships he has estab
Ruffin's departure comes at a
time when Reynolds and other
tobacco companies are downsiz
ing due to slagging cigarette sales
and costly legal settlements
?f Ruffin said he thinks RJR will
overcome its recent setbacks
"We operate a legal business,"
Ruffin said. "The company will
pull through."
See Ruffin , ?.A10
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CIAA legend
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HBCU fans must step up to the plate, says Leroy Walker
Legendary Olympic track
coach Leroy Walker has seen it
all and done it all.
Given a chance, he'll talk
about it. > ?
That's exactly what Walker,
who is president of this summer's
Special Olympic World Games,
did recently during a trip to
Greensboro College.
Walker talked about every
thing in sports from the current
bribe scandal that has marred the
Salt Lake City, Utah Olympic
* effort to the recently resolved
labor dispute between owners
and players in the National Bas
ketball Association.
"(Owners) created their own
problem," he said. "You're pay
ing an athlete $10 million to play
for half a year for two hours a
day. If it wasn't for the TV
money they would have been
' In the eyes of the 80-year-old
the real losers were the conces
sion workers.
"I just thought both sides
were silly," Walker said.
Walker talked for two hours,
winding his way through a host
of topics. It's the type of tireless
effort that has enabled Walker to
become a coaching legend.
"For a poor guy raised in
Harlem you would think I would
have never made it but I've been
on every continent and probably
200 of the greatest cities in the
world and most of it through
sport and education," he said.
During his 30 year span as
Olympic coach and International
Olympic Committee member
Walker has seen some of the
worlds greatest athletes though
he can't quite put his finger on
who the best.
"You gotta think of Carl
Lewis ... you gotta think of
Bones Dillard, you'Ve got to
think of a lot of foreign athletes
too in the long distances," he says
while continuing down the list.
"Flo Jo, Wilma Rudolph ...."
Walker, who was named the
first black head U.S.A. track and
field coach fof the 1976 Montre
al Summer Games, has also held
every major International
Olympic Committee position, <
including treasurer, which
brought along with it the respon
sibility of a $350 million budget
before becoming the first black
to be named its president.
After serving 20 years as an
IOC member and four as its
chief, Walker . stepped down
despite being asked numerous
times to stay.
"If you work at it and you do
your task at the very best people
will begin ... to recognize it," he
Walker should know.
His name is Synonymous
with CIAA history. He was one
of the greatest coaches in the
See Walker on A10
Re-Entry Academy offer kids second chance
When 16-year-old Geremie ?
Tharpe walked into the Re-En try
Academy on Jan. 20, it was the first
time he'd been in school in a year.
As a freshman at Parkland High
School last January, he was caught
with a gun. For the next 12 months,
court dates, a jail sentence and a
house arrest stood between him and
his lOth-grade year.
But Tharpe is on the comeback
trail. He has immediate plans to c
enter North Forsyth High School
and college is among his long range
goals But before he can return to
the world of traditional high
schools, Tharpe will have to pass
perhaps one of the toughest tests
he's ever had: he must prove that he
is academically, mentally and psy
chologically ready to "re-enter" that
As students' test scores continue
to dwindle, as enrollment at private
schools continue to climb and as
horrid tales of campus violence con
tinue to be played out in the head
lines across the nation - second
chances are becoming hard to come
by in public education these days.
But in its first year, the Re-Entry
Academy is proving to be just that -
a second chance. The Academy is a
program designed to provide a sup
portive, caring environment for stu
dents who face long-term suspen
sions or expulsions at their home
- "We get students from the eight
other high schools," said Khalid
Griggs, the Academy's director.
"When students come to Re-Entry it
is our design and intention that they
will return to their home schools."
The Academy - which is housed
in a small portion of Independence
High School - is home to students
who have been ordered out of their
home schools by principals for disci
plinary problems and students who
are trying to return to the education
system after having run-ins with the
Students get the assignments
they need, and hours of intensive
group and individual counseling.
Because they believe that the consel
ing aspect of the program is so
important, the phrase "Academics
with an Attitude" has been adopted
by Academy officials as their official
"We believe that attitude directly
affects the academics." Griggs said.
Before the academy's existence.
See Re-lntry on All
Starr to be investigated
Justice Department watchdog
to probe independant counsel
WASHINGTON - The Justice Department is inching toward open
ing an investigation of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr s handling of
the Lewinsky affair, officials say.
The department's internal watchdog agency, the Office of Profes
sional Responsibility, recently wrote Starr that it intends to investigate
Starr's office over several matters, but the office is awaiting Starr's
response to that notification before starting the inquiry, according to
officials who spoke Monday on condition of anonymity.
One topic for the impending investigation is the Jam J 6, 1998, offer
by Starr's deputies to former White House intern Monica Lewinsky of
an immunity deal conditioned on her not discussing it with her lawyer,
Frank Carter.
Justice Department rules prohibit government prosecutors from dis
cussing immunity deals with defendants outside the presence of their
lawyers. Starr's office is required to follow these rules unless doing so
would undermine the purpose of his investigation.
Starr has denied any impropriety in his office's dealings with Lewin
sky. v '
The other topics of investigation could not be learned immediately.
The letter to Starr was first reported by Newsweek.
Last November, the department also went to the brink of investigat
ing Starr over the handling of the immunity deal and other matters, but
he protested in a visit with top Justice officials.
After Starr's visit. Attorney General Janet Reno said Justice officials
had dismissed some of the allegations against Starr but had written him
a letter at that time seeking his response to other outstanding allegations.
She also said then no investigation of Starr had been opened.
See Star on A11
Clinton ordeal may
be over by week's end
WASHINGTON - With the television cameras turned oft and the
public galleries emptied of spectators and reporters, senators are rising
to speak, one by one, in what a participant describes as a dignified
debate over whether President Clinton should remain in office.
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impeachment deliberations - the first for a presi
dent in 131 years - immediately disclosed his
"The president should be removed from office
for obstruction of justice." said Sen. Slade Gbr
ton, R-Wash., who released his remarks following
the four-hour session. On the other impeachment
article, which charges Clinton committed perjury
before a federal grand jury,, Gorton said,
"Although the president lied, this specific case of
perjury does not rise to a level requiring removal." Clinton
Senators were resuming their closed delibera
tions today, and likely wbuld continue tomorrow, arguing tl\e evidence
as if the outcome was still in doubt in a trial now in its fifth week.
In fact, senators from both parties acknowledge Clinton is assured
of acquittal because the two-thirds margin for conviction cannot be
attained. *
For days, senators have been forecasting a stronger conviction vote
on the obstruction-of-justice article than on a perjury count that might
See Clinton on At 1
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