Students Support College Chief in Beer Bong Controversy

Southeast Missouri State President Carlos Vargas went viral for chugging while tailgating
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2018 8:07 AM CDT

(Newser) – Having the president of your college actively involved in student life is desirable. Having one who takes pulls on a beer bong with you at a football game—that's up for debate. Dr. Carlos Vargas, head of Southeast Missouri State University, says he now realizes his actions before a Sept. 15 pigskin matchup in Carbondale, Ill., weren't "flattering" and has vowed it "will not happen again," per a statement cited by Fox News. Someone caught his chugging camaraderie on video, and the now-viral video on Twitter (so far viewed more than 155,000 times) is something "I am not proud of." He also noted the beer bong itself, calling it "a device normally associated with excessive or binge drinking, which is conduct I do not condone." But while Vargas is now expressing regret for his actions, many SEMO students are throwing their support behind him.

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"Dr. V, you rock!" someone can be heard yelling in the video (captioned on Twitter with "THATS MY PRESIDENT") as other students cheer Vargas on and document him on their phones. "I think the student body is proud of him," one student tells KTVI; another adds: "I think he's a great president." Inside Higher Ed and the Southeast Arrow student paper note some are even irritated that Vargas apologized. "He is obviously of age, so I don't see an issue," a grad student tells the Arrow. Donald LaFerla, head of the college's Board of Regents, issued a statement alongside Vargas', noting that while the president may have had a "lapse in judgment," it "does not define who he is" and can be used as a "teachable moment." LaFerla adds Vargas has his support and that of the "full Board, now and in the days, weeks, and months ahead." (Read more viral video stories.)

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