Reprinted below is a letter sent by Dean Robert Helsley to the entire student body of the Sauder School of Business earlier today.
In September, I spoke publicly about how disappointed I was in Sauder students for participating in frosh week chants, which, among other things, made light of rape.
In an attempt to salvage something good out of this mess, I made a public promise that we would put $250,000 towards sexual assault counselling and education services. The board of directors of the Commerce Undergraduate Society has already contributed $50,000, but since we would be using part of the CUS’s $850,000 annual budget to fund the remaining $200,000, we had to approve it through a student referendum.
And you, Sauder students, just failed that referendum. Overwhelmingly.
So let me try to explain how I feel about this situation in a different way. Let me try to explain what I meant through a thought exercise.
Imagine for a moment that the Sauder School of Business is not in fact an educational institution, but a company — much like a company that you might one day hope to work for.
And let’s imagine that I’m your boss.
There are other bosses, too. The undergraduate society president, he’s your boss. So are your professors.
But, you see, I am their boss.
When your boss tells you to do something, it is in the company’s best interest that you do that thing to the best of your ability. Because it is in the company’s best interest that this thing be done, it is in your best interest as well.
Sometimes, the things I tell you to do may sound like suggestions. Sometimes I might say, “It would be great if you could complete x task within a given time period.”
But funding this counselling position to make up for joking about rape, while there is a sexual predator at large on campus?
That wasn’t a suggestion.
Now, some of you might say, “Hey, will this position really do any good, considering there are similar resources on campus already?”
You might say that makes this a PR stunt.
To those people, I say: bing-fucking-o.
Now, let me explain the position in which I, your boss, find myself.
I find myself looking foolish on the evening news. I find myself searching the name of my school and having “rape chant” pop up first in the search bar. I find myself mentioned in the same breath as a roving perpetrator.
In short, I find myself looking like an asshole.
When your boss feels like an asshole, he tends to make the people around him feel like assholes, too.
Going back to Sauder as business analogy: you are all fired. All of you.
Enjoy the rest of your week. You have two days to clear out your belongings.
Sauder School of Business
University of British Columbia ♦
Photo via the Sauder School of Business