The Collegian
Saturday, June 15, 2024

Facebook caption stirs controversy of Paul Queally's remarks

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."

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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

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