Lahey deserves defense

By on November 7, 2007

resident Lahey is stuck in the middle of a Catch-22. President Lahey can either speak to student media and be represented correctly or incorrectly in his mind and face the consequences from outside media, or he can alienate the student body by not speaking openly to the University’s community. President Lahey’s comments printed in the Oct. 24 issue of The Chronicle were negative towards a functioning student press, came across as contradictory to his goals for the school, and showed a lack of understanding of new and useful technology.

That being said, President Lahey still deserves defense. Three pages of opinion articles all directly or indirectly related to Lahey’s comments or the administration’s handling of the recent racial hate acts on campus is too much negative coverage. These extremely important issues need to be raised, and The Chronicle is possibly the best place to do it; but even editorials need balance. President Lahey needs to address his comments about distrusting the student media for himself, but his handling of the recent racial hate incidents deserves defending. The administration’s reaction to the incidents was quick, responsible, and didn’t jump to conclusions.

It was completely reasonable for President Lahey to state that he wasn’t sure if the acts were in fact crimes in the purely legal sense of the word. It would appear that President Lahey didn’t know the exact laws at the time, he was simply being honest. President Lahey can’t control the actions of others and stop incidents from happening. If the police can’t find the people that committed these acts neither can John Lahey.

Lahey is being responsibly realistic in regards to saying that as the school grows, more incidents like this will happen. These acts were most likely committed out of ignorance and stupidity rather than ardent hatred. Ignorance can be combated over time, but it cannot be destroyed in one swift blow.

The statement regarding the racial attacks made by former Chronicle Editor in Chief Jamie DeLoma is ridiculous. DeLoma wrote in a Letter to the Editor that “It is difficult for me to imagine how President Lahey could have done a worse job of handling this semester’s racial attacks.” This is a hyperbolized statement published to produce a shock rather than to make a point. The administration did not ignore the incidents, allowed the facts to be known in a timely and responsive fashion, and asked for assistance from the local police.

It is best to have everything out into the light; truths must be faced. Racism and ignorance exist. Other college campuses are dealing with the same problems. The recent Day of Unity and Prayer event was an excellent step in confronting these issues and ourselves. If the University wants to expand and raise itself to national prominence, it means having press conferences to the world, whether that’s a good or bad thing.

However, President Lahey is justified in looking out for the school’s image along with his own. Any news outlet (it may be The Chronicle or the New York Times) can’t get it right 100 percent of the time, be completely objective, or always be able to control the natural disease of news spin.

Falling into Catch-22 situations is easy to do. President Lahey or the school shouldn’t be ashamed of it happening. The politics of life that surround us often feel like “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenarios. Quinnipiac is a great school. Through reason and commitment it will become even better in time.


About Keith Bevacqua