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Board of Trustees | Web Update

Facebook caption stirs controversy of Paul Queally’s remarks

Published: February 20, 2014, 2:44 am ET
Queally-Front-Page
Public Domain
This photo and caption were found on Paul Queally's public Facebook profile, but the profile has since been made private.
Collegian Reporter

The Richmond Promise says it strives for an inclusive university strengthened by a community diverse in race, gender and sexual orientation.

Paul Queally’s remarks that were recently quoted as “sexist” and “homophobic” in New York Magazine have stirred controversy because of his ties to University of Richmond.

Queally, Richmond College ‘86, is a board of trustees member and significant financial donor to the university.

In response to these remarks and a photo caption on his public Facebook page, Paul Queally said “there is a lesson for all of us here.”

Tuesday, Kevin Roose released his book titled “Young Money,” which quoted jokes that Queally shared during a private dinner of Kappa Beta Phi, a secret society made up of high-ranking financial executives.

The first reads: “What’s the biggest difference between Hillary Clinton and a catfish? One has whiskers and stinks, and the other is a fish.”

The second reads: “What’s the biggest difference between Barney Frank and a Fenway Frank? Barney Frank comes in different size buns.”

At the dinner, each of the society’s new inductees, including Queally, were required to perform as part of their induction rite, according to “Young Money.”

In a public statement, Queally said, “The event referenced in the book was a private function where all participants were expected to dress in costume and make silly, outrageous comments.” Queally told “off-color” jokes that ranged from “sexist” to “homophobic,” according to Roose.

The board of trustees and Queally released separate public statements regarding these comments Wednesday afternoon, and university President Edward Ayers provided a personal email statement to The Collegian staff.

“The Board wholeheartedly shares our values and understands the special responsibility Trustees have for exemplifying the principles that are so central to our mission,” Ayers said.

In his initial statement, Queally said: “My brief remarks were in the spirit of the event but they do not reflect my views or my values. On reflection I should have said nothing. … I believe my record in support of education, diversity and economic advancement defines who I am and what I stand for.”

The board of trustees reaffirmed “the commitment of each of its members to promoting opportunity, inclusivity, civility and respect,” according to the news release signed by Charles A. Ledsinger Jr., rector of the board of trustees.

Queally said his remarks had been made in a private setting, but further investigation Wednesday afternoon led to the discovery of a public Facebook photo uploaded by Queally in February 2011. In the photo’s caption, Queally described an article of clothing as a “f-g jacket.”

After the photo surfaced, Queally was asked about his choice of words on this public platform. He was asked how this caption compared to his previous statement that the jokes made in a private setting did not reflect his views or values. Queally responded in a second statement directed to The Collegian staff.

“The lesson I learned is that there is no situation or context, public or private, where it is appropriate to make an ill considered remark in an unwise attempt at being humorous,” he said. “In today’s world there is no place for any remark under any circumstance that implies a lack of tolerance. It is my life’s work in education and support for diversity which defines who I am and what I believe. Those who know me understand this.”

Queally’s Facebook profile was on public view at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, but was under a private setting by 7:30 the same night. Ayers had not responded to Collegian staff regarding Queally’s remarks on Facebook at the time of press.

The Collegian’s most recent story involving Queally included a press release from the university, which announced in September 2013 that he and his wife Anne-Marie Queally, Westhampton College ‘86, had donated $10 million to finance the construction of the new Queally Center for Admissions and Career Services building on the Westhampton side of campus. To date, the Queallys have given roughly $20 million to the university. Paul Queally is a partner at the investment firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson and Stowe.

Four members of the board of trustees were contacted and three of them could not be reached for comment for this article. Board member Roger L. Gregory said he was not aware of the publicity behind Queally’s remarks when contacted at 2 p.m. Wednesday. He provided no other comment.

Patrick Love, president of Richmond College Student Government Association, and Mimi Mudd, president of Westhampton College Student Government Association, both declined to comment.

Contact reporter Rebecca Wilson at rebecca.wilson@richmond.edu

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  • UR student

    Who cares, if you give $20 million to our university, you should get a pass for telling a couple stupid jokes that were meant to be in private.

  • Max

    The Thought Police in action. Reread 1984.

  • Tracy Jones

    I think that it would be helpful for Mr. Queally and the board to schedule an open forum to discuss the situation and allow students, alumni, and faculty to ask questions and share their views. This should be done ASAP.
    Tracy Jones
    Class of 1986

  • Impressed UR alum

    Once again, stellar unbiased “investigative reporting” from the Collegian staff!!!!!1!!1!

  • nobody’s perfect

    All the Arts & Sciences majors who are up in arms that someone somewhere may have made a remark that was offensive to another person need to really step back and examine their own lives. In the age of social media and smartphones, there is no privacy anymore. To be honest, I feel really bad for Mr. Queally and other Wall Streeters who have their private lives picked apart by nosy, ungrateful college students who believe they are activists. The article and photo referenced are from two and three years ago. Around that time, Mr. Queally was launching Q Camp at UR, a program that helps SOPHOMORES secure jobs and contacts that they will use for the rest of their careers and lives. He is one of the most successful alumni of this university who not only donates to the business school, but also the women’s basketball team. He used to support the men’s basketball team financially, but stopped. Why? BECAUSE THEY WERE UNGRATEFUL. If the “activists” at this school [many of whom have never set foot in the b-school, attended Q Camp, or even attended a women’s basketball game] continue to pry into the personal lives of every board member and donator, eventually the donations will stop. I mean, who could blame them. You can say goodbye to the many opportunities that drew most of us to Richmond anyway.

    • Brian

      It’s true that nobody is perfect. However, might the 20 most powerful representatives of this University be expected to demonstrate the values that they pledged to uphold (I’m speaking of Principle II of the Richmond Promise…look it up). Whether the reporter who leaked this story violated Queally’s privacy is one question. What to do now that that information has national attention is another.

  • $25053555

    The decision to remove soccer and track were business decisions. As much as everyone would like to vilify Mr Queally the witch hunt needs to stop. When you look at this rationally you realize that UR like other universities must make changes to programs in both academics and athletics to reflect changes occurring throughout the country.

  • JD

    Are you asserting that the other 21 Trustees (excluding President Ayers) have never done anything that reflects poorly on the University? Mr. Queally is being attacked because a few insensitive comments were publicized for which he apologized. If people want to vilify Mr. Queally for his personal behavior then we should be equally interested in learning about the behavior of his 21 counterparts.

  • JD

    Let me understand this – you are an alumni arguing for acceptance and diversity by calling out this man’s son and other current students by name because you believe that they don’t think the way you do? It sounds like you are arguing that we are a university that embraces diversity as long as that diversity does not include people who disagree with ‘UR Grad’

  • UR Fan

    that queally is paul queally’s niece, and she was recruited by multiple universities for lacrosse but decided on richmond. To incinuate he would go through all this trouble, and probably lots of money, to pave the way for one family member to play lacrosse is ludicrous and frankly irrational. Also use your general intuition on this question, which sports program would have a lower net loss (as nearly all college athletic teams do not bring in close to the amount of money that is put into them) boys track and field and soccer, or lacrosse, in the lacrosse hotbed of the country.

  • Mula86

    2 comments: Perhaps someone should speak to alums who knew Mr. Queally back in the day to see if this is a deeply ingrained pattern of behavior.
    The decision to remove the more inclusive and diverse sports of men’s soccer and track in lieu of a preppy private school sport like lacrosse does nothing to achieve the goals of diversity and inclusiveness that U of R seems to aspire to.

  • Robert Patterson

    The Hillary joke was not very good. The Frank joke was pretty funny. Petey’s jacket does look a little faggoty so I don’t see what the issue is there. Seriously people, get over yourselves. And the fact that a school whose nickname is “The University of Rich Kids” went so long without a Varsity Lacrosse program borders on the absurd.