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Lahey gathers mixed reviews
A week after Quinnipiac President John Lahey spoke with The Chronicle, students and faculty have differing reactions regarding his comments on diversity and the university’s handling of the racial slur incidents.
“Overall, I’m happy with the statement of the president,” Assistant Dean of the School of Communications Rick Hancock said. “Is everyone going to be happy with what the president said? Probably not, but I think that now the onus is on the rest of the Quinnipiac community to do its part. The president is showing leadership, but now we need leadership from students, faculty and administration to make sure the campus is reflective of society.”
Last week Lahey defended the administration’s actions in light of the recent racial slur incidents. He stated that he was “not satisfied” with the amount of diversity on campus, and that he couldn’t “think of anything new that we are doing specifically in response to these two things (racial incidents).”
Unlike Hancock, Multi- cultural Affairs Director Tyrone Black was not impressed with Lahey’s comments.
“I was not surprised by some of his comments,” Black said. “He is still trying to understand the culture change here.”
Black thought that Lahey didn’t have “emotional attachment” in his comments, and that they came off as from the stand-point of an administrator.
“I believe that President Lahey is in the process of still learning that when a school is growing at the rate that it is, that along with growth, comes growing pains,” Black said. “Diversity should not be looked at as an issue, but it should be looked at as part of the growing pains.”
The Chronicle’s website, QUChronicle.com, has been used by students to express their opinions on Lahey’s comments as well as campus diversity.
“As a black student on this campus I find it offensive that President Lahey ‘was confident that the university does not need to do anything specific in response to the (racial) incident,'” sophomore Leslie Crichlow posted.
“President Lahey`s attitude towards this racial incident does not surprise me in the least. As a sophomore at this university, I have become aware of the lack of concern that he displays towards the students. Whether he truly cares about the great people that make up this institution is something that only time can tell so far. At least to me, it seems as if my tuition money is all that he really wants to see,” she said.
Senior Anastacia Tucker, president of the Black Student Union (B.S.U.), also was not satisifed with Lahey’s response. Tucker claimed that B.S.U. tried to meet with Lahey recently, but was told to talk with Dean of Students Manuel Carreiro or Senior Vice President of Student Affairs Kathleen McCourt.
“I just wanted to hear his thoughts and plans of action,” Tucker said. After a failed attempt to hear Lahey’s thoughts, Tucker found out by reading last weeks Chronicle story.
“Some of the things he said were cool,” Tucker said, “but I don’t know if he was thinking, or just didn’t come off right. Why would he say it doesn’t matter (if it was a crime or not)?”
Tucker believed that the university should have contacted the police, and was “disturbed” with Lahey’s comments on the matter.
“In fact, it was a hate crime,” Tucker said. “I don’t understand why he said it was irrelevent to contact the police. They should’ve handled it better.”
Melissa Carleton, a senior biology major, feels the administration needs to act on their words.
“I think they say they need to have more diversity but it’s not happening,” Carleton said. “They shouldn’t just say it, they need to put it into effect.”
Linda Jones, of the university’s facilities staff, said that she has seen the campus become more diverse over her five years working there, but would like to see more.
“Out in the world, it is a big world out there, and it starts in small places like colleges and grade schools,” Jones explained. “It’s about how they interact with each other. It helps when you go out there for each person to know a little bit about somebody else’s culture. It isn’t such a shock that you’re around certain type of people.”
Although Hancock is not satisfied with the amount of diversity on campus, he believes Lahey is leading the community in the right direction.
“I was very happy that the president made a statement in the e-mail, and was even happier that he talked to The Chronicle,” Hancock said. “I think it was good starting point.”
Crichlow on the other hand, would only be happier without Lahey.
“It would be great to have a new president that cares for not only the students, workers and professors, but a leader who can take Quinnipiac into a direction of personal achievement in and out of the classroom,” Crichlow said. “Until this day happens I can only look forward to the day that President Lahey is removed from his position.”