RICHMOND — A major benefactor and trustee of the University of Richmond has been caught on tape making sexist and homophobic jokes that are putting his alma mater in an awkward spot.
Paul Queally — whose name is on a 33,000-square-foot addition to the Robins School of Business and will be on a new gateway building for the campus — is quoted in a New York Magazine article as telling the jokes two years ago during the induction ceremony for a secret Wall Street fraternity called Kappa Beta Phi.
Queally did not return a call seeking comment, but he emailed a statement through a representative Wednesday that said the jokes do not reflect his views or values, and that “on reflection” he should not have made them.
The article by Kevin Roose, titled “One-Percent Jokes and Plutocrats in Drag: What I Saw When I Crashed a Wall Street Secret Society,” describes Queally’s exchange with another private-equity executive during a skit that was surreptitiously recorded at the black-tie event.
According to Roose’s article, Queally made the jokes about Hillary Clinton and Barney Frank, a now retired openly gay member of Congress, as part of a skit involving new Kappa Beta Phi inductees, who were dressed in leotards, gold-sequined skirts and wigs.
The article, with accompanying audio, touched a nerve at the university, which has an administrator specifically to oversee programs related to sexual diversity and to support the LGBTQ community.
In his statement, Queally said the event was “a private function where all participants were expected to dress in costume and make silly, outrageous comments. Writers were engaged.”
The statement added: “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 understand that people who do not know me or my work may misinterpret what I said. I believe my record in support of education, diversity and economic advancement defines who I am and what I stand for.”
Queally, co-president of Welsh, Carson, Anderson, & Stowe investment firm, is a 1986 Richmond alumnus. With his wife, Anne-Marie, also a graduate, he has given the university nearly $20 million.
Their recent donation of $10 million will help finance a center for admission and career services that will serve as the new gateway to campus.
At the university, some are now questioning whether Queally’s name should be on the welcome center, said Peter Kaufman, a professor in the Jepson School of Leadership Studies.
“It would be a shame to see his name closely associated with the first thing prospective students see when they come to the university,” Kaufman said.
Asked for reaction, the university released a statement from Rector Charles Ledsinger that said the board “reaffirms the commitment of each of its members to promoting opportunity, inclusivity, civility and respect.”