HAMDEN--Quinnipiac University President John Lahey was in high demand last weekend. He attended baseball games, graduation-related events and an off-campus house party, at which he made some comments that went viral, upsetting some Hamden residents.
In the video posted on YouTube, Lahey, playing to a crowd students jammed into the backyard of a Delsole Road home, grabbed a microphone and said, “I didn't even know this street existed. I’m gonna have to buy all these houses. I've got all of New Road and most of Whitney Avenue, but I didn't realize you guys are tucked away back here.”
Lahey’s comments were called “shameful” by a woman who has lived with her family on this street for several years. She, like town officials, believes housing zones specifically for college students who want to live off campus should be created.
“They can’t move in here and destroy people’s lawns and destroy people’s property. We have kids. We’re raising families here and they’re coming into our neighborhoods and trashing them and it’s just not right,” said the woman, who did not want to be identified.
President Lahey issued a written apology this afternoon"
Last Saturday, I attended five student events on and off campus, including the Senior Awards Ceremony, the Undergraduate Awards Ceremony, a university baseball game, a student veteran organization barbecue, and on my way home in the early afternoon, at the invitation of some graduating seniors, I made a brief appearance at their off-campus house 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. I deeply regret having made these remarks, for which I sincerely apologize. I have already personally conveyed this apology to Interim Mayor Jim Pascarella and renewed my commitment to work with him and town officials to resolve these longstanding student housing issues in the immediate future.
“We could tell that he wasn’t being serious and I think most of us, we all look up to Lahey,” said Rich Borek, who is one of the Quinnipiac seniors who hosted the party.
The town would like more students to live on campus, where Mayor Jim Pascarella says Quinnipiac has at least 200 empty beds.
The mayor also released a statement on the controversy:
This morning I received a phone call from President John Lahey of Quinnipiac University. I appreciated both his candor and apology and look forward to a refocused dialogue on improving Town/Gown relations and student housing concerns. We are encouraged by his public statement of apology and hope that this event will serve as a catalyst toward resolving these longstanding issues.