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Dear Trustee Paul Queally, please resign

Published: March 6, 2014, 1:54 am ET
Contributor

Dear Paul Queally,

We were students at the University of Richmond at the same time and although we never met, I feel as if I know you. We didn’t have any classes together or have friends in common and we couldn’t have lived in the same dorm, with me being a woman and that murky, man-made lake separating our campuses. The Lake of Don’t Have Sex. The Dark Ages, truly.

Speaking of the Dark Ages, I know why I think I know you. It’s your disrespectful and flat-out inexcusable, knuckle-dragging attitude toward gays and women.

Time to put down your club, Paul, and pick up a pen to write your resignation. You’re a throwback, but not in a nostalgic and sweet Nick-At-Nite kind of way. You’re something of a retro-thinking he-man. I can almost hear you grunting, “Women bad. Gays worse.” It’s as if you are still the same inexperienced and very likely beer-swilling undergrad you may have been all those years ago at Richmond. Before cell phones, before the Internet, before REM broke up. You knew about that one, yes? I ask because it doesn’t look as if you keep up with the world, and knowing what’s what with REM was pretty much a graduation requirement.

I bet you wish you still were that kid: you’d be in way cooler water right now with a lot of people who care very deeply about the implications of having a man with your so-called comedic chops represent our school.

Of course, developmentally stunted as you appear, you aren’t that kid. You’re a grown man with responsibilities, not the least of which is conducting yourself in an adult and respectful way. Yeah, yeah, you apologized, you learned, blah blah. You said those jokes don’t reflect your true beliefs, but I don’t believe you. First, that’s not even an original apology. It fell flat when Alec Baldwin tried to use it. He still got fired. But second and most importantly, if you don’t think something is joke-worthy, why go there at all?

What I struggle with most is how is it possible that someone with your kind of Wall Street pedigree and big enough brains to earn mammoth piles of money has learned nothing from the likes of Don Imus, who fell rather publicly a full five years before your 2012 Kappa Beta Phi performance. How is it that you are so unevolved? How is it that someone with any shred of sensitivity, decency, tolerance and intelligence can hold such outdated and hurtful beliefs and express them publicly?

Here’s a Q-tip for you, Mr. Q-Camp: It is not okay to use the word “fag.” Not even when describing your brother’s dumb jacket. It is not okay to make jokes about gays or gay sex. Not ever. Do you know any gay people, Paul? I do: a niece and a nephew, a few old neighbors, and some longtime friends. They deserve your respect as much as anyone else does. Their lives are just as valid and you don’t get to demean them because their sexual preferences don’t match yours.

And where is your brain when it comes to women? Don’t you have a daughter? Do you really think your catfish joke is neither offensive nor indicative of some female-bigotry? Who tells jokes about women’s looks? Not someone who deserves to be held up as a glowing example of a successful alumnus who holds dear the university’s best interests. Maybe you feel insecure that chicks can, will and have out-worked the all-mighty rich, white guy. Otherwise, why the need to cut a woman down? Disagree with her politics all you want, but leave looks out of it.

People don’t lampoon the things they respect. It’s that simple. I think it’s lovely that you want to share your wealth with the university and sit on the esteemed board of trustees. But know that your money does not undo anything, and your apology does not un-hurt anyone. It’s troubling that you thought you could apologize your way out of this. Don’t get me started on the very worst part of this whole unsavory story–that the university, blinded by the dazzling piles of cash you’ve donated, is willing to look the other way. So grow some damn grace about it and step down from the board of trustees. Your name means too many bad things to too many people. I think it damages the health of our school, where I can only hope young people with healthier attitudes and more open minds will learn everything that has somehow evaded you in the nearly 30 years since you graduated.

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  • Fred Tolliver

    PQ is an infidel who must be silenced. Resign from the board immediately (but we’re keeping your dough).
    All jokes on campus banned until further notice. These vile thoughts and dissenting views cannot be tolerated!
    Sincerely,
    UR Taliban Chapter

    PS….bet you feel insecure, PQ, that chicks can, will, and have outworked the all-mighty rich, white guy. BAHH HAAH!!
    And leave looks out of this! I am pretty and beautiful, dammit!!

  • Alumna

    Ann, thank you for writing what I’ve felt for 25 years. I envy your eloquence. I hope the groups of students fight this man. My diploma from UR simply makes me sick now that he’s on the Board.

  • SAS

    As a current student I believe this is an absurdly terrible Op-ed. While I appreciated the prose, you are attacking this single board member for three off the cuff comments he has
    made in the past three years. The two jokes he told were not even in the same
    hemisphere as Don Imus’ racially insensitive radio tirade. If you want to
    punish everyone who has ever made an off color joke in his or her private
    lives, then go right ahead. At Richmond we are taught to be better people and
    realize people make mistakes. I would bet you that every single board member at
    Richmond has made a joke or two in life that wasn’t politically correct. Paul
    Queely is at fault for one thing though, the jokes weren’t really well written.
    Jokes are joke, some are funny, some are not, but cherry-picking two jokes told
    by one board member at a private event three years ago, and subsequently
    writing an Op-Ed asking for him to step down is simply sickening. As a Richmond
    graduate I am truly embarrassed with your actions.

  • ElLoboGrande

    You sound incredibly immature; please learn to be more tolerant and less of a fascist.