Letter to the Editor: An open letter to the WLUGSA from a former president

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Dear WLUGSA,

You are my friends and colleagues and for that reason I think it is prudent to be blunt and honest with you in regards to the sudden closing of Veritas Café.

Speaking as a past-president of WLUGSA, I am deeply disappointed and embarrassed by your actions over the course of the past few days. I keep waiting for you to ‘wake up’ and realize the mistake that you have made. Unfortunately, it is becoming ever clearer to me now that you either do not think that you have made one, or that in your realization, you do not think that you have a choice to back down. If it is the latter, then you need read no further. If it is the former, please allow me the professional curtesy as a past-president, to express my thoughts on your actions.

If I am to view this situation objectively, I find myself in full support of Dr. Williston’s open letter and personal position on the matter. What Sandor did, at best, can be identified as being an error in good judgement. He attempted to use humour to capture the attention of an apathetic student community, and in doing so, he regrettably offended one or more of your members. While this is unfortunate, everything that we do in this day and age will inevitably offend someone. While it is not my intent, I am relatively sure that the very letter I write to you here and now will offend someone.

Today, we live in a society that acts far too quickly and with too great a force. Unfortunately for you, this is especially true for the decision that was made by the WLUGSA Executive and Board of Directors to end the contract with Veritas Café.

Where you should have taken the time to reflect on the situation and consider the subsequent consequences of your decisions, instead you acted viciously, apathetically and with great haste. In doing so, you have cast a dark shadow over all student leaders who work with great care and precision to safeguard their students and to enhance their academic experience at each of their respective institutions.

Please do not make the further mistake of thinking that no one else understands the challenges that you are currently facing. As a past-president, I know the challenges that you face day-to-day and the expectations that lay upon your shoulders. But I too know that sometimes these challenges and expectations can also blur your vision.

Having watched this event transpire over the past few days, I realize that your actions demonstrate that we are all human and that each and everyone of us can ‘overreact’ in any situation where there is great pressure. As such, I want to ask you to do something and it is not an easy thing to do. I want nothing more than for you to place yourself in Sandor’s position. Take a minute to reflect upon the years of dedicated service that he has provided to you and your community and with all things considered, ask if your actions in this situation were just.

If you are still hesitant to correct your mistake, perhaps I can offer one further comment to guide your thinking.

If one lapse of good judgement is enough to condemn a man that spent the greater part of four and a half years supporting your community, then in turn, your own lapse of good judgment in this one situation is enough for your membership and the community to act against you. Relationships are everything in student government, do not let the mismanagement of your relationship with Veritas Café in this situation define you and your organization. Please consider that you have overreacted and begin to mend your broken relationship by taking corrective action with Sandor. Not doing so, could mean that this becomes the first misstep towards mismanaging other important relationships, such as with your membership, the University, WLUSU and other partners.

Your friend and colleague,

Robert P. Bruce
WLUGSA Past-President, 2014-15

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