Few college presidents get down in the trenches enough to know where the big student parties are happening. Even fewer would show up to one of these soirées to get a firsthand account of undergrad socializing and "extracurriculars." And fewer still would show up to a house party and bro out to the point that students begin chanting their name.
But that's what Quinnipiac University president John Lahey did last Saturday (April 25), and it was all caught on camera.
Lahey unexpectedly made an appearance at an off-campus May Weekend darty (in a suit, no less). Instead of busting up the gathering like an evil dean from a movie, the prez gave a jovial speech to the hundreds of students in attendance, joking that he made a futile attempt to ban May Weekend parties 15 years ago.
"Quinnipiac students are the greatest students in the world," Lahey said to the cheering crowd of students in the vid. "I want you to know I outlawed May Weekend 15 years ago but apparently the message hasn’t gotten out. And you guys are living proof that May Weekend still exists. I love you all -- have a great weekend and stay safe."
Students chanted his name as he handed over the microphone, but not everyone was happy about the president's total bro move. Police were called to that house twice on the day of Lahey's visit, and some neighbors were upset he tacitly encouraged the type of raucous behavior that's been plaguing their street over the years. Mayor James Pascarella spoke to New Haven Register about the incident and said it sends "the wrong message" to the community.
Due to the backlash, Lahey apologized for his actions on Wednesday (April 29). He explained that he attended four other student events that day, and graduating seniors invited him to make an appearance at the off-campus party.
"In speaking to students at the house party, and in an obvious but ill-advised attempt to be humorous with them, I unfortunately made light of what is clearly a serious matter with respect to off-campus student housing in Hamden," Lahey said in a statement. "I deeply regret having made these remarks, for which I sincerely apologize."