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A final farewell to the president

Dear Eddy,

It would appear that you’re going to outlast me. We both came to UNB around the same time. Yet, it is me who will be walking out the door first.

I have to say, Mr. President, it’s a huge relief. My hairline has receded worse than the last recession. I have strange wrinkles on the top of my ears. Leaving academic stress behind feels freeing.

But, still, I know the stress isn’t over. I will work for a year and be happy and make some money and enjoy myself. Then student loans will begin calling in their debt. I won’t be able to make full payments and likely take years to pay it off. In the meantime, I will put off purchasing a house, a car, or any other substantial investment.

For the size of my loan ($40,000), I partially blame you. You needlessly increased tuition. Implemented fees students outright voted against. In the meantime, you kicked back in six figures.

That said, I do have almost two degrees now. That’s some kind of asset. As time goes on, I will get promotions or new jobs and raises. I will become more established in my industry. Much of this will be thanks to what I learned and accomplished at my alma mater.

That said, I will never stop being embarrassed that I attended UNB under the leadership of a president who allowed a strike to occur while a surplus was going to be pulled. That I studied under the command of a leader who thought it appropriate to pay thousands for a union-busting security firm during that strike.

It’s plain and simple, sir. You make bad decisions. You’re a bad listener. You rule in isolation. You praise the bottom line while ignoring who creates that bottom line.

It’s not all bad. You’re not the bottom of the list in all my fields. You pull top three for worst PR. Top ten for most incompetent university presidents. And you’re definitely up there for best dressed.

Additionally, it’s not all your fault. We have a Board of Governors that, a handful of members aside, has legitimated and accommodated your failed rule. They have stood by you and ensured your contract renewals despite a complete lack of confidence that runs university-wide.

Just wait, there’s more. We can’t forget the complacent student body. While their pockets get pillaged, they stand by and don’t give a damn. While you skip around throwing their tuition fees at new administrators, they shrug. Your very presence undercuts the value of students to UNB. And they don’t seem to give a flying fuck.

I’m not done. There’s a Student Union who prances around atop eggs lest they should offend you or the students. They live in perpetual fear of confronting your bullshit, thereby implicitly allowing your rule live on.

There’s a whole slew of problems at our institution. However, king amongst them all is the ignorance of you and your administration. It would seem you haven’t gotten the hint, Eddy: You run a university, Dr. Campbell. Not Enron.

I’m sorry to be such an ass, Eddy. I’ve no doubt there are numerous aspects of your life where you are accomplished. I think that university president or administrator just isn’t your shtick.

All said and done, with everything behind us, we’ve had a time, Eddy. And honestly, it’s not all bad. It could get a whole lot worse than you.

As I walk out the door, let it be known: I am walking away from UNB not with a smile, but with a cocked eyebrow and pursed lips. It’s the look of disappointment and regret. If I turn back, it’s to thank every professor, every peer who made my university experience meaningful. Not a drop of the acknowledgement goes out to you, Eddy.

 

Always yours,

 

Micah E. O’Donnell-Gillies

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