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The president of Highland Community College in Kansas, Deborah Fox, has been widely criticized for comparing a Black student athlete to Adolf Hitler in a recently leaked recording.

Fox made the comment during a private October 2021 meeting about alleged discrimination Black students experienced in the athletics program. She reportedly made the remark while questioning whether a particular Black student athlete had too much influence on teammates.

“I mean, there’s certain people that emerge as leaders, good or bad,” Fox said in a recording obtained by The Kansas City Star, which called for her resignation in an editorial. “You know, even though we don’t like it, Hitler was a great leader.

“He, somehow, even for evil, moved and were able to do these things,” she added. “It’s terrifying. But that’s what can happen when leadership isn’t acknowledged and goes untapped or undirected.”

Fox said in a statement to Newsweek that the comments were taken out of context.

“I have apologized to the students, faculty, college, and the public for my poor choice of words,” she said. “In trying to describe negative leadership in a lengthy conversation lasting over an hour, I used a momentary horrible analogy. This was never to be associated with a student.”