If a mom hits a beer bong at a college football tailgate, chances are she will be popular and a viral sensation. If a university president decides to do it, well, it will certainly go viral, but you’ll definitely be hearing an apology if a video ever surfaces.
That’s exactly what happened at Southeast Missouri State University when President Carlos Vargas-Aburto was seen accepting a beer bong at a tailgate party prior to the school’s football game at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale on September 15.
No punishment was handed down to President Vargas-Aburto, who has been at SEMO in Cape Girardeau, Missouri since 2015 after serving as active president at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, but that eight-second video is certainly a reminder that one lapse in judgement could potentially mean big trouble for a college president.
Dear Colleagues and Students,
During my attendance at a tailgate prior to the Southeast football game on September 15, I was observed being offered and accepting to drink beer from a beer bong, a device normally associated with excessive or binge drinking, which is conduct I do not condone.
The above action projects an image that I am not proud of, is not flattering, and certainly not expected from the president of Southeast Missouri State University. As president of this institution, I have the responsibility to show with words and deeds that I live by and uphold the values and principles that we work very hard to instill and strengthen in our university community, in particular, our students.
I made a poor decision, and, for my action, I apologize to the students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of Southeast Missouri State University, an institution of which I am tremendously proud. Last, but not least, I apologize to the Board of Regents, and to the community at large. This serves to me as a reminder that I must always be mindful of my actions and behavior, and I can assure you this will not happen again. — Carlos Vargas-Aburto
Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents President Donald LaFerla also issued a statement on the incident:
“After this was brought to my attention, I spoke with University President Vargas who immediately accepted responsibility for his actions, and he assured me that this one incident is not reflective of a broader pattern of behavior,” LaFerla said. “As an institution of higher education, we have an obligation to every member of our University community to assist them in good times and in bad; to take poor decision making and turn it into a teachable moment; and to focus on the person’s overall potential to do great things.”
A little fun before a football game never hurt anyone. Luckily, all Vargas had to do was apologize for getting caught in the act.