The president of Southeast Missouri State University has apologized for a viral video that showed him drinking from a beer bong at a tailgate party while students cheered him on.
Carlos Vargas-Aburto was seen in the video from the university’s September 15 football game against Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, the Associated Press reported. The short clip gained viral attention after being posted to Twitter and was viewed more than 150,000 times in just a few hours after being posted. It also attracted attention from media outlets and was popular among college football fans both on social media and football forums.
As the clip continued to gain attention, it also led to a backlash among those who said the college president should not be encouraging binge drinking.
That, in turn, led Vargas-Aburto to send an email to students and colleagues last week apologizing for his actions, which he said he regretted.
“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,” he wrote in the statement (via The Southern). “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.”
While the college president took some heat for the video, it does not appear that his job is in jeopardy. In the email apologizing for beer bong video, the president of Missouri’s board of regents also issued a statement backing Vargas-Aburto and accepting that what was seen on the video was just a one-time lapse in judgment.
“While this certainly represents a lapse in judgment on his part, this one incident does not define who he is,” wrote Donald LaFerla, adding, “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.”
Many commenters on the short video clip did not agree with controversy, and a number even praised the college president for showing a bit of a fun side and solidarity with his students. Others lamented that the video overshadowed what ended up being an entertaining game. Just a few hours after the infamous video was filmed, Southeast Missouri State capped a wild game with a touchdown pass in the final 14 seconds to defeat Southern Illinois by a score of 48-44.