An Open Letter To My Alma Mater

Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Hobart and William Smith Colleges


Dear Idiots,

Thank you for the recent letter updating me on all the goings on and whatnot at HWS, signed by the President of the Colleges but likely written by a number of administrators, detailing the current state of affairs at the institution where I managed a BA in history, won a chess tournament, broadcast the 1997 women’s soccer division III national championship game (which we lost 1-0) and was threatened with expulsion by the dean, because apparently every movie about a crusty dean threatening students is based on reality.


Anyway, back to the massively insulting/disgusting letter, mostly a bunch of banal blah that is likely cut and pasted from previous versions sent to alumni, in which you include the following paragraph:

“As we welcome a new cohort of students, faculty and staff to campus, this year’s Convocation was also an opportunity to outline my vision for the coming months. As I’ve previously communicated, this summer the Colleges were drawn into the national dialogue regarding sexual misconduct on college campuses. Although we understand that the challenges we face exist at virtually all colleges and universities across the country, we are committed to improving policies, procedures and training on these critically important topics.”

Where to begin, where to begin…Okay, let’s start with recent history of the Colleges, as detailed in this piece for the NY Times.

To summarize for those who don’t like clicking on links and reading things, a student alleged sexual assault and the university embarrassed itself in its (pathetic) investigation and the subsequent disciplinary hearing.

It’s a toss up as to the more offensive portion of the excerpt. Perhaps it’s the notion that the school was ‘drawn into a national dialogue’ when the reality is the university brought a Title IX federal investigation upon themselves when they fully and completely shit the bed after a student brought forward allegations of rape. The school failed, at every point, utterly and completely.

This is like BP sending shareholders a letter cheerfully describing how they were drawn into a dialogue on oil rig safety in 2010.

HWS engaged in conduct that can be charitably described as gross and incompetent. There was no protection for the accuser in this instance and it’s equally clear there is no accountability for anyone involved, at any step, from the students to the administrators.

Perhaps worse is describing the challenges HWS faces as ones that exist at virtually all colleges and universities. This bland aphorism reeks of a pathetic attempt to deflect blame for their recent egregious behavior. “Sure, students are sexually assaulted here with no repercussions or consequences to the perpetrators or the incompetent administrators who ‘adjudicate’ the complaint. But it happens everywhere, so it’s not really about us specifically, we’re just players in a system!”

You think you’re being investigated by the feds for taking part in a national debate? You are the debate, idiots.

To that end, please feel free to contact me for contributions to your next capital campaign at any time, I look forward to expressing to you personally all the reasons why I won’t ever give you money.

In short, thanks for the letter, good to know everything is running smoothly back on campus and the new performing arts center is a winner. Please all resign immediately.

All the best,

Geoff

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I am a hermit living in a cave inside a mountain underneath an abyss. Your comments are the only contact I have with the outside world.

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